Do you have a tendency to get bored with your workouts? Too many down dogs or Vinyasa flows? Are you looking to challenge your muscles in new ways?
Or on the other hand, are you interested in trying yoga?
Try a Yoga Fusion class!
These classes take your typical yoga class and combine it with another modality of movement. These particular fusion classes target many different aspects of fitness and make your workouts more functional. You can combine strength, balance, core, even endurance workouts in these fun combos to keep your mind and your body constantly challenged.
Let’s cover what yoga is, the benefits, what’s yoga fusion and 10 popular class options.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is way more than just stretching.
While the physical practice is noteworthy, the mental practice is also important. Especially if you’re active in other areas of fitness.
If you’ve ever taken a standard yoga class, you’ll notice there’s breathwork, called pranayama, spirituality and even the occasional chanting. Yoga invites you to dive within, taking notice of your body, your thoughts, and your feelings.
Yoga can be described as a spiritual discipline that focuses on “bringing harmony between the mind and the body”. Hence matching your breath with your movement and the chanting of namaste, typically at the end of the class.
In Sanskrit, the word “yoga” means “to yoke” or to join together or unite. Yogic scriptures discuss the harmony between Man and Nature, mind and body, individual consciousness with Universal Consciousness. It’s a beautiful practice with immense benefits.
The benefits to practicing yoga are both physical and mental.
Physically, yoga does so much for your body. It improves flexibility, builds your muscle strength, corrects your posture, prevents cartilage and joint breakdown. The practice increases your blood flow, boosts your immunity, lowers your blood pressure and blood sugar, improves your balance and lastly, boosts your immune system.
Mentally and spiritually, yoga makes you happier, helps you focus, it releases tension, and helps you attain a deeper sleep. It gives you a peace of mind, increases your self-esteem, inner strength and encourages self care.
All are wonderful benefits! And what if I told you that you could get all of these benefits PLUS the benefits of your other favorite workouts… all in one class?
Let me introduce you to a popular trend called Yoga Fusion!
What is Yoga Fusion?
Yoga Fusion is the combination of yoga with a different type of movement or fitness style to “utilize more muscles and burn more calories than yoga alone”.
It makes classes more fun and challenging! The fusion simultaneously builds aerobic and anaerobic fitness while creating a unique workout you’ve never experienced before!
Yoga Fusion lets you benefit from the best aspects of both types of workouts.
Benefits include but certainly are not limited to:
- Greater variety and reduced monotony. Practicing the same moves in the same order can be mind-numbing and boring. Mix it up!
- Improved health. This can be through weight control and an overall toned body.
- Increased availability with little to no equipment requirements. That’s the beauty of these. They can be taken anywhere at any time you want to keep your workouts fresh!
- Boosted training focused on muscle growth and body strength.
- Better full-body workout by involving all muscle groups.
In general, Yoga Fusion classes can range from 30 to 60 minutes. Typically, the workouts begin with a short warm up followed by strength or cardiovascular training. Then, the participant will move into balance and flexibility training. Followed by a yogic cool down.
You’ll still get all the benefits of yoga while testing the strength and endurance of your body. But again, not just the physical aspects! You’ll get the mental and spiritual benefits as well!
There are so many options that can be created by merging yoga and other fitness types.
Let’s cover 10 of the most popular fusions.
The most popular fusion with yoga is pilates. These classes can go by many names, including Yogalates, Yogilates, or even the BeachBody variation: PiYo.
In these classes, you’ll practice isometric holds and tiny pulses in traditional yoga poses such as plank or bridge pose. Isometric holds are the flexing and holding of muscles without the lengthening or shortening. A great example of this is plank pose. You are holding your body in place without any movement. You’re stagnant. That’s an isometric hold. Try it!
This combination of yoga and pilates increases flexibility and muscle strength. It focuses mainly on core strength. The instructors even have more creativity to create a unique, non-traditional experience for the students.
While yoga is traditionally mat-based, you can also add a pilates reformer. This will create a flexible body, stronger core, and overall well-being.
These two practices create a great combo that combine specific postures with correct breathing and meditation.
While yoga is fluid and soft, strength training is heavy and tough. Like yin and yang, they complement each other which makes this combination a well-rounded fusion.
Blending yoga and strength training tones your body, builds lean muscle, and keeps you limber.
Yoga reconnects your body with the natural movement patterns allowing you to employ your muscles in compound and complex movements. It also boosts your endurance in the gym by developing your slow-twitch muscle fibres.
Your slow twitch muscle fibres are your endurance. Basically, these muscle fibres work for a long time before they get tired. This is compared to your fast twitch muscle fibres that provide a powerful force but fatigue quickly.
Almost all yoga poses can benefit from strength, endurance, and muscle stability. Take chaturanga, for example. More strength in your arms and chest help stabilize the pose. This can lead to more advanced arm balances such as Bakasana, Crow Pose, or Tittibhasana, Firefly Pose.
Yoga also develops underutilized muscles while reinforcing ligaments and tendons. Stretching brings fresh flow to muscles helping in healing and growing.
Combining yoga and running can be particularly helpful for new runners! While the run time in the class may be shorter, yoga will prevent lactic acid buildup, which is what makes you sore.
Bonus! This combo will also force accountability in pre- and post-run stretching.
These two exercises are complimentary. Yoga helps develop muscle strength, flexibility and balance which can reduce the risk of an injury. It helps improve mental focus and breathing efficiency. On the other hand, running compliments yoga because it boosts cardiovascular fitness.
Runners World states yoga can even improve running times! And who doesn’t love that!
Developing strength and flexibility in your core, hamstrings, quads, and hip flexors “can help you run more efficiently and stay injury-free”.
Another fun pairing is yoga with kickboxing. Again, yoga is completed first to warm up the muscles and promote a healthy active recovery. These classes can also be a great introduction to kickboxing if you’re nervous about trying it!
Yoga increases flexibility and boosts the kickboxer’s range of motion. This will give you a competitive edge over boxers who train traditionally, without yoga.
Kickboxing requires a heightened level of focus that can be taught by yoga’s teachings of inner stillness and focus on the present moment. Yoga also works muscle groups that are typically dormant or undeveloped during kickboxing. This enhances endurance and overall strength.
ZenCore combines yoga and functional plyometric strength exercises to improve your strength, balance, and flexibility.
It was created by Maryanne Blake, the creative director at Reebok Sports Club in New York City. She says this class, “targets the specific body parts with sequences that begin with a yoga pose (to prep the body), then transition into dynamic moves (to raise your heart rate and strengthen muscles), and then flow into a restorative pose (to stretch your body).” The class ends with a meditation to leave you feeling strong and calm.
The workout speeds up the pace of moving through yoga poses while adding strength movements and cardio drills targeting your core, lower back, and glutes. An example of a dynamic strength-building exercise is hopping your feet back and forth between your hands from a plank pose.
Maryanne developed this class for “type A’s who’d never be caught in a yoga class”.
Like pilates, the combination of spinning and yoga can go by a few names, ranging from Spin Yoga to Cy-Yo. The purpose is to bring your overall well being into focus so you can “reach maximum physical and spiritual outcomes”.
These classes are typically one hour long: 10 minutes of yoga to warm up, 40 minutes of indoor cycling, and finishing 10 minutes of cool down.
This setup lets you burn up to 300 – 600 calories per class AND get a deep stretch while focusing your mind, body, and spirit. It can also be an introduction for people unfamiliar with yoga.
This fusion is well rounded. It takes the stressed muscles you use for cycling and stretches them at the beginning and the end of class.
Corepower Yoga is a popular branded yoga with the mission “to show the world the incredible life-changing things that happen when you root an intensely physical workout in the mindfulness of yoga”.
This unique yoga combo works not only on your physical body but your emotions to change your life. The instructors are certified in this particular kind of yoga so “you’re bound to experience a highly physical and incredibly mindful workout”.
The benefits of this practice are turning stress into sweat, rigidity into fluidity, and a strong sense of community. This practice will increase your circulation, flexibility, strength, and enhance your quality of sleep.
There are 4 types of classes offered. If you’re interested, check out this link to determine the best place for you to start.
Barre fusion was developed by ballerina Lotte Berk and her orthopedist to create the “ultimate body transformation”. This workout is a blend of ballet, yoga, cardio, and Pilates to “tighten up what is loose and melt away any unwanted pounds within a matter of ten classes”.
The classes are 55 minutes long focusing on your hips, seat, thighs, abs, and arms. All the while, creating the mental benefits of yoga and meditation.
Using isometric movements, this low-impact class shapes long lean muscles while firming and tightening. It also clears your head and mind.
The Vinyasa sequence in particular is designed to decompress and tone your entire body.
Fusing yoga with calisthenics is great for anyone of any level of fitness. It inserts traditional exercises like squats, sit-ups, or pushups into flowing yoga sequences. This type of fusion class can go by the name YogaFit.
Calisthenics uses your body weight, gravity, and inertia to increase your strength and flexibility. They are typically performed without any equipment making these classes versatile and cost-effective. These moves improve your aerobic condition, balance, and coordination making this fusion a perfect compliment.
Some examples of these combinations are lunges in your warrior poses, sit-ups in your boat pose, and planks in your vinyasa flow.
The last combination on this list is the fusion of yoga and ballet. The most popular brand of this particular combination is Yoga Booty Ballet, (YBB).
The YBB program was created by Gillian Marloth, a fitness instructor and former competitive ice skater and Teigh McDonough, a professional dancer and personal trainer. They say this program combines yoga with dance routines to help participants lose weight, build muscle and self-confidence.
These classes can be found on Beachbody. They describe this particular union by claiming “you’ll see a dramatic difference in your body with this mix of cardio, yoga, and sculpting. The ABC training technique works your abs, lifts your booty and melts away fat.”
As you can see, there are many variations of yoga fusion for you to try. Even if it’s not covered here, there’s a good chance you can find a class mixing your favorite two workouts!The benefits are vast, combining all of the perks of yoga with the advantages of other forms of movement.
Many of these classes are available online to stream. Also check out the local studios in your area for this popular new twist on yoga!
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Former nutrition specialist Alexandra Mackenzie knows what it means to support the body and mind through food. She’s passionate about sharing her wealth of knowledge with anyone willing to listen.