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The Intense New Way You’ll Be Practicing Yoga and Pilates in 2017

Piloxing, Cardio-Reformer, Yoga-Lates, Yoga Booty Ballet, Megaformer, Box and Flow, Cardiolates — prepare to see cutesy hybrid names likes these on your local gym timetable, because classes fusing yoga or Pilates with high-intensity exercise are officially everywhere.

Hybrid classes have been gaining traction on the fitness studio circuit for over two years, but in the past 12 months these fusion workouts have just about overtaken traditional Pilates and yoga classes in popularity. The reason is clear and simple: The trend offers all the benefits of a mindful practice or a lengthening, strengthening Pilates class, but also torch way more calories.

Take Piloxing for example; a heart-thumbing blend of — you guessed it — boxing and Pilates that pioneered the Pilates hybrid class movement. It originally started in 2009, however it’s really only in the past 24 months that the combo class has started attracting famous women like Alexis Bledel, Vanessa Hudgens, Heather Morris, Hilary Duff, Ashley Tisdale, and Kirsten Dunst. Since 2014 alone Piloxing has even expanded to include two fresh iterations: Piloxing Barrre and Piloxing Knockout.

Box and Flow in New York City is an even newer concept that combines boxing and yoga. It launched earlier this month, offering class-goers the advantages of a cardio boxing workout and a yoga practice rolled into one — it’s even done barefoot to make the transitions between boxing bags and yoga mats easier. Box and Flow’s creator, Olivia Young, is tapping into a desire among the holistically health-focused crowd to blend mindfulness and fitness for what she describes as a balanced, “yin and yang workout.”

“[You leave Box and Flow] with a leveled empowerment. You fight, get sweaty, get a full body workout but also leave centered,” she told us, adding that it’s normal to burn up to 600 calories in one session.

Then there’s megaformer: A 60-minute ass-kicking inspired by reformer Pilates. Unlike the original however, this class torches serious calories which has earned it favor with celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Sofia Vergara, Michelle Obama, and Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio. 

Tracy Carlinsky, a megaformer teacher and founder of Brooklyn Bodyburn in NYC, says anywhere between 300 to 800 calories can be burned in her classes, much more than a classic reformer session. In her opinion, the trend towards studios blending pilates or yoga with high-intensity exercise stems from busy customers who want to get the most from every workout.

“Pilates doesn’t offer the ability to effectively combine strength, endurance, cardio, core and flexibility training not only in one session, but in each and every move,” Calinsky explained. While there isn’t much downtime in a Megaformer class, she says a traditional Pilates class is less effective because it includes “breaks between each exercises which limits our ability to achieve maximum result.”

yoga pilates hybrid class
Image via iStock

Just to be even more confusing, there’s even a blend of yoga and pilates gaining steam: Yoga-Lates. The fusion classes focuses on mindful movement, syncing the breath with a Vinyasa flow, while also tapping into a Pilates influence that engages both your core and your mind. In West Hollywood, Yoga Booty Ballet is an actual thing that “promises to work your body, engage your mind and lighten your spirit” by combining meditation and hatha yoga with cardio dance. 

It’s not just LA and NYC dishing out these blended classes either. Cardiolates is a 45-minute high-intensity fitness experience offered in Philadelphia and Chicago, and Cardio-Reformer is a favorite among the wellness set in Seattle

So if you’ve been holding out on fusion fitness classes, now’s the time to get on board, because this exercise trend isn’t going anywhere.

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