I actually did fusion yoga before it was a thing. After I learned Pilates moves, I started combining yoga and Pilates within my personal practice at home. I know I’m not alone, because I took yoga classes long ago that did the same kind of thing before it was an official type of yoga, as the teacher would add some squats and other strength-training moves into a yoga class.
Anyway, now fusion yoga has become a new type of class as the list of yoga options continues to expand. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, especially because people connect to different things. I like that with more options, everyone can find a type of yoga that works for them.
I think fusion yoga can be exciting! It can make a class exciting and fun, not to mention increasing its physical fitness level or other benefits. But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, so let me answer the question what is fusion yoga?
An Overview of Fusion Yoga
I don’t want to give the impression that fusion yoga is a brand or follows a specific routine. Some types of yoga are like that, but others vary by factors like who is teaching the class and where it’s being held. Fusion yoga is the latter type, where one class can be significantly different from the next.
So what is fusion yoga? Quite simply, it combines different types of exercise into one class. So it will combine yoga techniques with some other kind of fitness activity. You can see this in action through my story in the beginning, as I like to combine yoga with Pilates moves within the same session—to me, they complement each other.
You might also be interested in our PiYo yoga explainer.
Common Types of Fusion Yoga
Basically, I could combine any type of exercise with yoga poses and call it fusion yoga. Maybe I want to throw some jumping jacks into the middle of my yoga session or jump in the pool and take some laps after hot yoga has made me drenched in sweat… abracadabra, it’s fusion yoga!
That’s true, yet some combinations are more common than others, which makes sense. After all, I think some exercises naturally complement a yoga practice. I could also see gyms and studios coming up with creative ways to save space and develop new class offerings by throwing two types of classes into one.
Here are some types of fusion yoga you may see more than others:
- Yoga and Pilates: This is the one I mentioned, and it works because yoga and Pilates go hand in hand like a couple on their honeymoon. Pilates offers similar types of poses to yoga, such as putting you on a mat on the floor, so it can be easy to transition from one workout style to the next. And Pilates can add core strengthening and heart pumping to a gentler yoga session.
- Yoga and Dance: Whether it’s ballet or another style of dance, the movements and poses of a dance class can fit with those of a yoga class. In many cases, these classes use dance to help you move from one yoga pose to the next, increasing the flow and aerobic aspect of the class.
- Yoga and Strength Training: This type of fusion might take the strength training of yoga to another level. It can add different types of strength training to a yoga class, such as body weight resistance exercises and reps with resistance bands, weights or even machines.
- Yoga and Aerobic Exercise: Yoga is also combined with many types of high-intensity aerobic or cardio exercises that get your body moving and your heart pumping. The yoga gives balancing and warm up/cool down activity for kickboxing, running, spinning and other classes.
Benefits of Fusion Yoga
Finally, I think it’s important to cover some of the main benefits of combining yoga with other types of exercise. Sometimes the fusion may happen out of convenience or marketing or freedom of exercise expression, but ultimately, these combinations tend to offer great health and fitness benefits.
Believe it or not, yoga is able to provide many fitness components on its own, as it can offer strength training, stretching and aerobic exercise all in one class. Yet I’ll admit that some forms of yoga offer more benefits than others in some areas, particularly in aerobic benefit. Many yoga classes include gentle movements that don’t get your heart pumping enough for real cardio benefit.
This is where fusion yoga shines. You can add another exercise to fill in gaps of your workout and help yourself reach your fitness goals. Depending on your goals and the type of yoga you’re practicing, you could create a fusion to boost the aerobic, strengthening or stretching component of a yoga session.
In many fusion classes, yoga provides the warmup and cooldown period with its gentle movements and muscle stretching, while the middle of the class includes high-intensity exercise like spinning or kickboxing to help you reach cardio fitness guidelines and burn more calories. In other cases, adding Pilates or resistance training can beef up the strengthening benefits of a yoga practice that’s already working your muscles, helping you work out all areas of your body to the level you want to achieve.
One of the things I like best about fusion yoga is that it’s very open and flexible. You can find so many different types in gyms and studios, so you’re sure to find something that fits your fitness goals and your interests. Also, it’s a great way to create an exercise session to practice on your own that you actually enjoy!
You might also be interested in our Buti yoga explainer.
The Final Word on What Is Fusion Yoga
I hope you think fusion yoga is as exciting as I do! It makes it easy to add your favorite movements from some other type of exercise to your favorite from yoga. By combining types, you increase the benefits and can enjoy your workout as much as possible, which I think is great news.