15 Oct Why You Need To Show Pilates Some Love
There’s a new big divide in the yoga community. Yes, you heard that right. What’s your jam: pilates or yoga? Are you a devoted yogi with a wandering eye to pilates? Not to worry, you’re not alone. #confessionsofayogi Over the last few years, there’ been ever-growing popularity of not only yoga classes but also pilates classes.
Whether it be on the mat or reformer, who isn’t intrigued by this “Fifty Shades of Grey” machine?! Let’s find out what the fuss is all about. And why you should integrate it into your yoga routine. You probably have heard that pilates classes are all about the core. Hello Summer body 2019, anyone? But there’s a bit more than that. So let’s break this down a little further. Excuse us, while we get a little nerdy now, but you need to know the hard facts.
What is Pilates?
Pilates was developed in Germany by Joseph Pilates. He developed early stages of his discipline during WWII while working in a hospital. He was responsible for attaching springs to hospital beds to help support patients limbs – the idea of the Pilates Reformer bed was born.
Pilates is the alignment of your body, connecting your body and mind. You’ll become more body aware, moving smoothly, efficiently and without injury. Through Pilates exercises, you’ll learn how to engage your entire core. Yes, also the deepest layers. You’ll begin to learn how to breathe correctly – it’s different to your yogic breath, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. It’s working out how to turn on individual muscles, and relaxing the ones that shouldn’t be on. It’ll be challenging on you both physically and mentally. Sounds like a tough gig to us.
The most common injury these days is back problems. Usually, brought on by a lack of core strength and stability. Pilates is all about improving core strength and stability. According to expert Rachel Compton, Pilates can help with joint injuries, and you’ll strengthen the small, stabilising muscles that hold the joints together. For decades physiotherapists have been using it to assist in recovery and to prevent injury in the first place.
How Does Pilates Support Your Yoga Practice?
Well, when you come to class, you’ll not only notice that everyone is wearing socks, but the teachers are diligent about the detail. Don’t take it personally. They all focus foremost on your alignment. The teachers want you to learn about your body and what is going on in terms of imbalances. And yes, they’ll make you work harder, so no cheating on the reformer! It’s for your benefit. During a Pilates class, your body will move in all directions and all planes of movement – through flexion, extension and rotation – keeping the limbs limber and the fascia hydrated.
Do you want long, lean muscles? Then Pilates is your new best friend. Unlike going to a gym where you might pump out a few hard sets in the weight room, in Pilates, you concentrate on the eccentric contractions of the muscles — getting nerdy here. When you’re using a dumbbell for some hardcore bicep curls, you’d see the bicep going through a concentric contraction (the muscle is under tension and shortens), but as you drop your arm to the floor, there is little activity in the bicep. In Pilates, you also keep the muscle under tension while it lengthens (i.e. an eccentric contraction), unlike when you’re bicep curling with dumbbells in the gym. The muscle gets worked in both directions. This is why you may need to slow down your movements in Pilates – so you don’t end up shortchanging your practice. You’ll see results in a short period when you come to a Pilates class at least three times a week.
Pilates + Yoga = Perfect Combination
To answer your burning question, yes, Pilates is the perfect complementary style to your regular Yoga practice. Once you get the hang of the different poses, you’ll see the results. It won’t be easy at first, as all new challenges are. You might be sore in places you didn’t even know you had muscles. Just saying, laughing might be a bit painful after a strong Pilates class. But you’ll not only get stronger in your whole body and your deeper muscles that’ll benefit your yoga practice. Think of all the chaturanga you’ll be floating through and loving. Trust us; you’ll be coming back for more and more. Oh, and did someone say abs?
We get why so many yogis are flocking to Pilates classes. We ‘ve already jumped on the bandwagon and so should you. Are you ready to move to the dark side? Just kidding. Checkout this pilates for beginners video taught by our amazing Gina Brescianini, and if you’re missing the spiritual side of your yoga practice, you can follow it up with a yoga flow. Plus an extra-long Shavasana – naturally.
See for yourself and decide, will it be yoga or pilates? Or maybe both? We won’t judge as we are equally in love with both.
Written by Power Living team