Yoga + Pilates: Feel the force
In wellness circles, it’s quite common to be divided into either the Yoga camp or the Pilates camp and for many, it can be a hard push to cross the frontline. For many practitioners and many of our teachers, recognising the synergy of these two amazing disciplines is a powerful way to harness the potential of your entire body and your overall wellbeing.
Yoga is widely recognised for its ability to strengthen the body, mind and spirit, however most of the postures practiced will engage the larger, global muscles of the body. Pilates on the other hand, focuses on the smaller, deeper, internal muscle groups, which, when correctly activated leads to greater stabilisation of the skeletal system. Imagine a muscular corset protecting your skeleton, this is the pilates effect.
Combining the two disciplined approach offers untold benefits for the body, improving strength, energy, posture and general health. They have a synergistic effect that enhance each other beautifully. My Method Pilates and yoga teacher Juliet says “Pilates will help support a regular yoga practice, particularly in balancing postures which are challenging for even the most seasoned practitioner. The activation of the deeper muscles will help accompany you on your journey towards more advanced postures, if that is your focus. With an emphasis on core control, Pilates helps to protect and support the back, thus diminishing pain whilst allowing you to deepen your practice, whilst maintaining safety in your joints and ligaments. It’s precision will help you become aware of your alignment in more dynamic yoga practices which is crucial to keeping you safe.”
Yoga on the other hand helps to lengthen the muscles. Flexibility is a key focus for most people and something we all need to try and maintain, especially as we age and yoga certainly helps with this. The meditative quality of a yoga practice helps you to develop a more mindful approach to your life in general. It teaches you how to become more self-aware, less reactive, and helps us make decisions with a clearer, calmer mind.
In short, combining the two modalities will give you a greater understanding of your own anatomy and keep you focused on good alignment and posture. Together they will help you build long lean muscles so that strength is built and and flexibility maintained. In addition the clutter will clear from your mind, reducing tension and stress in your entire being.
Next time you take to your mat, maybe consider crossing the border and explore what the other side has to offer.