What Is Yogilates®?

K.C. Bruning

Yogilates® is a form of exercise that combines movements inspired by Pilates and Hatha yoga. The goal of the system is to draw upon the mutually beneficial traits from both styles. Yogilates® classes tend to follow the basic structure of a Hatha yoga class, with the establishment of a quiet tone, gentle warm up exercises, strength and stretching moves, and then meditation. A typical routine starts with a warm up of Pilates exercises and progresses to a series of poses similar to those practiced in Hatha yoga.

In most instances, Yogilates® begins with Pilates exercises to warm up the body and then progresses to the asanas typically associated with yoga.
In most instances, Yogilates® begins with Pilates exercises to warm up the body and then progresses to the asanas typically associated with yoga.

Yoga practitioner and Pilates instructor Jonathan Urla invented Yogilates® in 1997. The style draws upon shared characteristics between Pilates and Hatha yoga, such as their focus on breathing, flexibility, and building strength with fluid movements. There are various levels of the exercise program which typically progress from less demanding floor work to more challenging standing positions. Common moves include arm and leg lifts combined with stretches, arching of the back, body rolls, and lifts.

Exercise bands are often used during Yogilates.
Exercise bands are often used during Yogilates.

The primary philosophy behind Yogilates® is that the Pilates exercises help to warm up the body for more effective and safer performance of yoga moves. The Pilates moves are also meant to help yoga performance by building up the strength needed to fluidly transition to and hold different poses. Some of the claimed benefits of Yogilates® practice include stress relief, improved flexibility, better balance, and greater core strength. As several of the moves are weight-bearing exercises, the routines are also believed to help build bone strength. It is a low impact method of exercising several of the muscles in the body.

Yogilates® routines are typically performed on exercise mats. Exercise bands and Pilates poles may also be used to help practitioners maintain positions or to provide extra resistance. The transitions between moves are meant to be performed in a gentle, fluid fashion that does not strain or jar the body. As routines are composed of separate movements, they can be easily adjusted for different levels of fitness and physical ability.

Urla has developed hundreds of Yogilates® moves, which he has shared in classes, lectures, books, and videos. There are Yogilates® classes available in both yoga and Pilates studios. They are also available at some exercise clubs. A typical class will last about an hour. These classes are typically conducted according to the style of the instructor and are usually not connected to an official program.

Yogilates® typically blends movements that are inspired by both Hatha yoga and Pilates.
Yogilates® typically blends movements that are inspired by both Hatha yoga and Pilates.

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