Valentina Benne, an instructor at Wildwood Athletic Club, has been teaching Yogalates for seven years. As far as she’s concerned, the class brings together the best of Yoga and Pilates.
“Yogalates is a dynamic workout style combining the core-firming benefits of Pilates and the flexibility of yoga,” explains Benne. “Additionally, it adds elements of strength training to sculpt, define and stretch you into shape.”
Designed for all fitness levels, Yogalates omits jumps and running to be easier on the joints, but adds dynamic poses and body weight resistance to create a “calorie-torching workout accessible to all body types and fitness levels,” says Benne. Each class is unique, but are based on fundamental postures and combos that can be modified or intensified to meet each participant’s abilities.
Yogalates offers “familiar yoga poses in exciting, dynamic flow sequences”
So what might you see at a Yogalates class? “Familiar yoga poses in exciting, dynamic flow sequences that challenge the body in new ways, increasing balance while building lean muscle,” Benne explains. “The routines borrow heavily on Pilates disciplines and rhythm in movement.” That means you’ll work on smooth transitions between poses. The class also avoids tedious repetitions and static poses, creating a collective energy and rhythm.
The feedback from Benne’s Yogalates classes have been positive, with participants reporting increased flexibility, balance and stamina, even in those with arthritis or who thought sweat-inducing workouts were a thing of the past. It can also be helpful to those who want to lower their body mass index (BMI) or cholesterol.
Yogalates may also help a person’s overall well-being. “In Pilates we seek to strengthen the core and improve posture and strength while gaining flexibility. In yoga, we learn to unite the mind, body and spirit,” says Benne.
Benne may be the instructor, but she credits her students, too, for teaching her over the years. “I continue to be impressed by the strength of character, as well as physical strength I see every day in those recovering from injury, those who derive mental strength from physical fitness and those embarking on the journey of fitness for the first time,” she says. “I love Yogalates for being the medium by which I meet amazing people and maintain my own health.”