Pilates and yoga are finding their way into more personal training sessions as trainers incorporate some of the core techniques of each modality to round out their clients’ workouts. But doing so requires these trainers have the right training themselves.

If personal trainers understand the benefits of yoga and Pilates but are not certified or educated in either, they often refer their clients to yoga and Pilates classes. But if they understand how to integrate it into their training and how to assess deficiencies in balances, they can enhance their training by teaching yoga and Pilates postures. For trainers who understand these practices and have a certification, they can offer personal training sessions that are purely yoga or Pilates based, says Kim Lavender, national director of team training at GoodLife Fitness, London, Ontario, where she manages the personal training departments at 300 GoodLife clubs throughout Canada.

The awareness of the benefits of yoga and Pilates often determines how personal trainers use the techniques in small group training or one-on-one sessions, Lavender says. Some personal trainers add short Pilates or yoga sequences to enhance warm-ups or cooldowns while focusing on principles of strength, flexibility and balance. Others may add the techniques to emphasize mind-body awareness.

Trainers offering either or both disciplines are using the advances in movement science to improve their training and their client outcomes, says Nora St. John, director of education at Balanced Body, Sacramento, CA. The mind-body component of Pilates and yoga can enhance any form of training if done properly.

“Pilates is both a series of exercises and a philosophy of movement education,” St. John says. “The same exercise may be taught by a personal trainer, a Pilates teacher or a yoga teacher with equal success as long as the teachers are able to accurately assess the client’s goals, level of fitness and special needs; create a program that addresses the client’s specific needs; accurately teach, observe and correct the exercises assigned; and understand the purpose of each exercise and appropriate ways to modify or progress it for the client or class at hand.”