The challenge with taking bits and pieces from different systems is that while any individual exercise from Pilates or yoga could be useful, the overall power and the integrity of the system may be lost.

“Personal trainers should take reputable courses in the discipline they want to incorporate in order to get the most out of their training,” St. John says. “They should choose programs that explain the purpose, philosophy and rationale behind the system, not just the choreography of the exercises. Programs in Pilates or yoga that are taught by someone with a background in personal training can help to bridge the gap between the different systems.”

However, as more personal trainers become more knowledgeable in these modalities—from their own personal practice or from taking workshops— a certification may not be necessary, says Kathie Davis, executive director of IDEA Health & Fitness, San Diego, CA.

“If a personal trainer is dabbling in yoga and Pilates, they have a personal training certification or a B.S. in exercise science, there is probably no need for them to get certified as a yoga or Pilates teacher unless they want to specialize in that area,” Davis says.

Even if trainers do not seek a certification in these modalities, the popularity of adding these practices into sessions suggests that personal trainers must be well-versed in a number of training modalities so they can market themselves better and better serve their clients.

“The best teachers in the fitness industry have their clients’ well-being as their first priority, and often different clients have different needs,” St. John says. “As a teacher, if you can offer your client a wide range of skills from the strength and endurance offered by personal training to the enhanced motor control offered by Pilates to the flexibility and focus offered by yoga, you have the tools needed to address any client effectively.”

Pilates and yoga programs tailored to personal trainers are good ways to introduce trainers to these disciplines when they may have shied away from them in the past, says Beth Shaw, founder and president of YogaFit, Los Angeles, which offers yoga training for trainers. Introducing key principles of core control, spinal mobility, coordination and balance shows trainers practical applications they can use in conjunction with functional training, weight training or cardio training to address the needs of clients and leave them more balanced at the end of the session, Shaw says.

Fusing yoga and Pilates into personal training sessions can offer a more wellrounded approach to fitness, but personal trainers need to ensure they find a balance that compliments the modality and their clients.

“Although exercise fusions are important to vary up exercises, there is a thoughtful and mindful awareness behind one’s training that needs to happen in order to receive full benefits of a training program,” says Sarah Jarvis, programming coordinator of education for Merrithew Health and Fitness, Toronto. “Bringing awareness of this to trainers has definitely improved over the last 10 years, but there is still a high percentage of training certifications that need to emphasize this more.”