Gallery: Yoga meets Pilates
Durban - It is one of the hottest combinations the fitness world has to offer and if you consider the shared ideals of proper breathing, core strength, flexibility and meditation – it makes perfect sense to combine yoga and Pilates.
Yoga, which originated in India about 5 000 years ago, focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental well-being, while Pilates, created by German-born Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s, is an exercise system that focuses on stretching and strengthening the whole body to improve balance, muscle strength, flexibility and posture.
Together, and set to music, they are an all-new spring workout that will literally set your heart racing.
The concept, most commonly known as yogalates abroad, emerged in the ’90s, but it has only recently been launched at Virgin Active gyms in South Africa.
It is something new for local gym bunnies – hence the name Nova.
But apart from being the latest fad, Nova has merit as a beneficial exercise routine.
Maryam Leeuw, master trainer at Virgin Active, describes the class as a “freestyle fitness yoga meets Pilates” workout.
“It’s more approachable, stronger, faster and deeper,” she says.
The Nova class is based on the Unite model developed in England by Rachel Holmes and Jayne Nicholls. It is choreographed by Leeuw to popular music.
Apart from being fun, it extols all the virtues of the original forms of exercise.
“It’s not the aim, but the combined movement does appear to have neuromuscular benefits,” she says.
“Each class is performed barefoot on the mat and the choreography remains the same for some time. This allows those in the class to get better and better at it and work at a deeper level each time.
“Many traditional aerobics classes are different every week and you spend time trying to follow what the instructor is doing.
“These structured classes shift the focus; they are designed to instil routine and perfect form for optimal results,” says Leeuw. - The Mercury