Miami Herald TaiYogaLates

  • Wednesday, 05.16.12

Sweat Equity

TaiYogaLates fusion works mind, body and spirit

Tai chai and yoga complement a workout focused on strengthening core muscles.

Octavio Averhoff, right, works on a yin and yang, breathing and cross stance, during a morning TaiYogaLates, at Perfect Balance. This workout combines strength, flexibility, relaxation and incorporates cardiovascular elements. MARICE COHN BAND / MIAMI HERALD STAFF


If you go

What: TaiYogaLates

Where: Perfect Balance, 5900 Sunset Dr., South Miami. The martial arts studio also has locations at 13550 SW 120th St., Kendall (786-242-1075)and 10720 NW 74th St., Unit 1, Doral.

Schedule: 9 a.m. Tuesday and Friday; 6 p.m. Wednesday

Cost: $19.99 for three classes

Information: 305-669-8445 or visit



By Howard Cohen

Yes, we’re hot.

According to a LivingSocial survey late last year, Miami’s the vainest city in the nation and that honor, apparently, extends to the way we approach exercise.

“Here in Miami we don’t care about health, Miami cares about look,” says martial arts master Al Agon, who runs his family-operated martial arts fitness studio, Perfect Balance.

The studio has three locations in South Miami, Kendall and Doral and Agon has the perfect-for-Miami class — TaiYogaLates. The program is a fusion of ancient Asian methodologies and Western exercise.

The 50-minute class combines the benefits of tai chi, for stretching and release of energy, yoga for concentration and flexibility, and Pilates for strength and cardiovascular development into one tidy package.

You will get a full body workout and look good all the while working on your health from the inside out.

“With yoga, there were some complaints from people that they didn’t get any cardio in it. The Pilates exercises have a lot of cardio and raises the heart rate and incorporates the flexibility of yoga. With tai chi you can regulate your own breathing through the whole exercise and it’s an exercise you can build on,” said program director Nicole Agon, the senior Agon’s daughter.

Nicole compares the blended program to resistance weight training: “You are building your own muscles but at your own capacity and level.”

Indeed, some of Agon’s carefully crafted movements and his concise instruction on anatomical positioning help students get into the proper position to best use the muscles. For example, conventional crunches are often performed incorrectly and do little to work the abdominals optimally.

“If someone is doing a set of crunches I can show them how, with 30, they will be in better shape than the 300 they did elsewhere,” Agon said.

He does so by instructing his class on how to engage the core muscle group, the focus of the class. TaiYogaLates crunches work the transverse abdominals in which the exterior benefit is a six-pack appearance while the internal stress helps to create a girdle-effect, a smaller waistline over time.

Squats, too, are tweaked here to maximize the concentration to the legs by dipping lower and contracting the inner upper leg muscles. To do the squat correctly you must maintain constant emphasis on the core to stay in balance.

“I love this class because it focuses on form which is very important so that you don’t hurt yourself,” said Judith Wyatt, 54, a Kendall skin care specialist, yoga teacher and massage therapist. “Strength. Focus. Flexibility. This class incorporates all the aspects of what I’m looking for in an exercise program.”

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