Back in the early 2000’s, I did Yoga exclusively. I tried all the different kinds – Bikram, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Anusara, Ashtanga, Yin, Restorative; You name it, I’ve probably tried it. I was in love with my Yoga practice and soon enough I found myself training to teach it and the rest was history.
In the course of my journey towards understanding how the body moves better, I discovered Pilates. The first time I tried it, it felt equally amazing as Yoga and yet still distinctly different. It surprisingly challenged my body in ways I have never felt before. It brought my fitness to a whole other level and that’s why at my own little studio, ONELIFETM, I always tell Yogis that it is a good idea to complement their practice with Pilates (and vice versa!).
If you’re curious how Pilates can complement your Yoga practice, here’s four of my favorite reasons why:
- WORK WITH YOUR CORE LIKE NEVER BEFORE. As you flow through the poses in Yoga, much of the emphasis is oftentimes on how you use channel out your energy throughout the limbs. In Pilates, the emphasis is strongly on how you efficiently use your core all throughout. Pilates has helped me tap into my deep core muscles and I found that it helped me have a stronger sense of my body’s own center of gravity. With Pilates I was able to more consciously use my core to support the movements to be done by the rest of my body.
- BRING BALANCE BACK TO YOUR SPINE. A big part of Yoga is backbends, forward bends, and twists and I know all of those things feel amazing. However, as with anything, too much back work without the proper form can get injurious. I found that Pilates really helped me understand my spine better. In Pilates, a great deal of the work is bringing the spine back into its neutral position. It focuses on work that restores the spine’s natural curves. It focuses on correcting spinal misalignments brought about by years of bad posture and movement patterns. Around the world, Pilates is renowned to be a top choice for rehabilitating back injuries so you can just imagine what it can do for healthy, supple Yogi backs! Remember, the healthier your spine, the happier your life.
- KEEP MOVING WITH PRECISION. There are a lot of specialized Pilates equipment that can really help you tap into muscles that you’ve been having hard time activating. I’m sure a lot of you feel imbalances between the sides of the body and a lot of you can’t seem to get into certain moves and poses because you can’t seem to turn on your muscles here and there. It does take a whole lot of training and practice to build body awareness and I find that with Pilates equipment (the reformer is my favorite!) and the dynamic Pilates repertoires, the learning process becomes much more efficient. I found that as I discovered how certain exercises should feel with the help of the machines, I am able to bring up my mat-based training, most especially my Yoga practice, to a whole other level.
- MOVE WITHOUT PRESSURE! The Pilates reformer is an amazing equipment. Since the reformer allows you to do a lot of functional exercises lying down, you can take it easy on your joints and your spine. Imagine jumping, squatting, running, and so much more without the impact of moving against gravity. You’ll be surprised how much work you’ll get to do, but without the usual high-impact routine stress. If you’ve been wanting to complement your Yoga practice with something more dynamic, Pilates is the perfect low-impact complement to your current lifestyle so you can get your cardio goals in.
I love both Yoga and Pilates because they both keep my health and wellness goals grounded. I find that Pilates keeps my fitness goals realistic – it reminds me where my body is and where I can still take it without the risk of pain or injury. Pilates helps me work with my strengths so that I can overcome my physical weaknesses. On the other hand, I find that Yoga keeps my stress levels down and helps me stay focused, positive, and determined. Yoga helps me train for that mental grit I need to stay resilient when I go off my mat and into real life. Both practices help me find that balance I need to keep my mind, body, and spirit nourished.
At the end of the day, it’s all about what makes you feel at your best inside and out. Yoga and Pilates works for me every time, perhaps it can work for you too!
This article was also published on UrbanYogiPh. If you love it, hope you can help me share it! 🙂