I am very shocked and somewhat embarrassed that I have had this blog for over four years and I have never written a post explaining PiYo™. PiYo is a combination of Pilates (Pi) and Yoga (Yo), brought to us by Chalene Johnson. Chalene is the creator of Turbo Jam®, Turbo Kick®, TurboFire®, Hip Hop Hustle®, and ChaLEAN Extreme®. These programs are put out by either Beachbody or her company, Powder Blue Productions. With PiYo the idea is to combine the two mind/body practices in order to appeal to a large audience. Pilates and yoga are somewhat similar to begin with, both have a component of connecting the mind and the body in conscious movement. Both have ideals on breathing and breath. Both are a way to improve flexibility, stability, strength, and balance. Depending on which type of yoga practice there could be agility and mobility involved as in Pilates. Now this might sound familiar if you know about Nia. In Nia we have the five sensations flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, and stability (FAMSS) which we play with in our dance. In PiYo the same sensations can be experienced. The manual states: “PiYo is considered a ‘Western’ approach to the practices of mind/body fitness.”
I believe that many people think yoga has been “Westernized”. Since there are so many types of yoga there might not always be a spirituality in the yoga class or chanting, meditating, or even the Sanskrit terminology. That is true with a PiYo class. It is more about the physical with an awareness.
PiYo combines yoga breathing and Pilates breathing. In general a yoga pose is done with yoga breathing and a Pilates exercise is done with Pilates breathing. Of course, students are encouraged to breath in a way that is comfortable to them and that works with their individual body, the aforementioned is just a general guide.
The PiYo class follows the tried and true module of a typical exercise class. There is a section for warming up, a section for general strength and balance, a section with more of a focus specific area of the body (say a core, upper body, or lower body), then a cool down and relaxation section. While yoga poses could meet all the requirement of each section and Pilates exercises could also, it is often the case that each section will have a majority of one or the other. Although, you might be like me and think that there is such a huge cross over it is difficult with some moves to claim it is only a yoga move or only a Pilates move. While I am certain the move did originate from one or the other practice specifically it seems as though currently there is a huge cross over. That is one reason why I think Pilates and yoga marry ups so well. They can be considered very similar.
So throughout the class there will be yoga poses and Pilates exercises. It is up to the instructor and the make-up of the class as to whether the yoga poses will be held for a measured amount of time or done in a flow. No matter which is chosen it will be a sequences of poses. Whereas the Pilates exercises are done in repetition. Generally sequences of repetitions.
A PiYo class is allowed the freedom of design. As mentioned there is a class format, but then the way it is carried out is dependent on the instructor and students. The consistence of a PiYo class is that it is for the body and the mind using both yoga poses and Pilates moves.
Do you practice yoga? Do you practice Pilates?