Monday, June 1, 2009

Yoga and Pilates

On twitter, I got an update to an informational website on Yoga. The topic was "What is the difference between Yoga and Pilates?" I decided to check it out not only as a Pilates teacher but also an avid Yoga student. The person asking the question was curious as to the differences as well as looking to gain flexibility. She wanted to know which was the better choice. Yoga? or Pilates?
I think that IS a great question to ask, but I was so so annoyed by a few of the answers that were given. As a student of both disciplines, I feel one should answer with the facts, not based on complete opinions. Before peeps can make an educated answer they must know both topics (and perhaps those few who annoyed me, haven't studied Pilates, which, hell, it is a site dedicated to yoga info any how). By all means, I can't say that I am an 'expert' in either discipline, but i do have some experience in both (yoga for 13 years, Pilates for 15 years).
So I decided to "comment" and provide a few more facts (and a little opinion) on how both disciplines can be applied to her question.."Which one can make you more flexible"... My stance is both yoga AND Pilates can help you get flexible. So I write out my suggestion and press "post." A new page then opens and tells me I must be "logged on." What? I search the site looking to register or logon. Can't find it. So, to cool my frustration, I decided I would post it on my blog (and it is one long comment....I'm now off the salt box, sorry)!

Very good question to ask! First I would like to help make a correction to the above comments.. Pilates IS a mental practice and does involve the mind body connection if taught correctly (sometimes Pilates can be taught incorrectly in ways that remind me of people doing nautilus on Pilates equipment..that's a no no. Pilates works on the whole body in conjunction with breath). "Contrology" was originally the name for this system of exercises which Joseph Pilates (1880-1967) was inventor and founder. In fact, Joe utilized yoga philosophies in his teachings. So a large foundation of Pilates comes from yoga. To this day, this "contrology" concept honors alignment, flexibility, circulation, strength and sometimes forgotten by instructors, BREATH. There are 6 principals of Pilates; centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow. I started learning mind body connection as a dancer, then as a Pilates student starting in 1994 and then as a yoga student in 1996. For me personally, I honor my yoga practice as it is a means for me to DEEPEN that mind body connection for both my Pilates exercises and yoga asanas. And whatever you are "working on" be it flexibility, strength, or even if you are trying to heal chronic pain, Yoga can help you (as does Pilates). Yoga is a mind body discipline, that takes you through asanas (poses), along with breath. It not only stretches you, but strengthens as well as improves circulation. Like Pilates, Yoga takes deep concentration, in order to help you achieve maximum potential in any given asanas (whether it's a balance pose like the tree or a 'resting' pose like child's pose). I am now a Pilates teacher, but I also still practice Yoga, which I LOVE. I think that both disciplines can give you flexibility (and strength too). They both challenge your inner most physical self, your nervous system, which is your information highway connecting your mind and body. However, I think it is very indicative of who you take from. My advice is to start by taking intro classes to both, but be sure to test the waters in a studio that is specific to the discipline (like a yoga studio or a Pilates studio). Good luck and have fun! Joe Pilates always said, "you are as old as your spine is flexible."

If you haven't already,
Let me know what you think too!


Lynda Lippin said...

Nice post Kate! I agree completely.

yogi said...

Check out this article for some background information and difference between Yoga and pilates