What Is Yoga Fusion?

By Nina Makofsky

In essence, yoga fusion attempts to add some type of fitness regime to the traditional series of yoga poses offered in a basic yoga class. The fusion aspect may include strength training, resistance work, cardiovascular activity, elements of dance or Pilates moves. Most yoga fusion classes seek to provide the flexibility challenges and breathing work of yoga while also offering overall toning, muscle-building or fat-burning activities.

Roots of Yoga Fusion

The principal type of yoga fusion is yoga and Pilates, sometimes referred to as Yogilates. Pilates is the practice of isolating small muscle groups and doing refined, intense exercises that target those muscles. Pilates moves are a good complement to the overall stretching and strengthening offered in yoga. Another yoga fusion that has garnered attention is booty ballet. It's a flashy name for what is basically a full-body fitness class incorporating stretches, poses, dance moves, balancing and breathing. Some yoga fusion classes highlight the dance aspect by having live music or drumming in the room.

A Blend of Benefits

The benefits of most yoga fusion workouts is that they are dynamic and challenging, yet accessible. They can offer the mental and spiritual lift of yoga with the physical benefits of a cardiovascular workout. Instructors keep the pace lively and the combinations interesting, so there is less chance of boredom or burnout. Most yoga fusion workouts can be adapted for people with different needs or for beginners.

What to Expect

Most yoga fusion workouts start with a warmup and then flow into moves that are designed to improve your cardiovascular system and increase your strength and flexibility. Yogilates has the specific goal of promoting a rapid and balanced development of strength and definition of muscles. Many yoga fusion instructors also offer personal training or one-on-one classes to help refine poses and customize the workout.

Take Your Pick

Many instructors, Tanya Lee among them; have gone even further and have created fusion classes that incorporate even more disciplines like tribal dance into their workouts. Lee's YogaBelly class is designed to take you to that "yoga state of mind", while toning your core and unlocking your feminine power.

Considerations

Yoga fusion is accessible to people of all levels of fitness, but absolute beginners would benefit from taking traditional yoga classes first. Being familiar with the basic poses will ensure that you know how to align your limbs properly, before adding the cardio aspect of fusion yoga.

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