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How Yoga and Pilates Work Together to Transform Your Practice

If you’re of the mind that Yoga and Pilates stand as oppositional practices, you are missing out on some amazing benefits!

We receive a lot of questions from students who are trying to decide whether Yoga or Pilates would be better for them. However, the truth is that they support and complement each other extremely well.

Both are incredible as individual practices, but put them together and they enhance your health and wellbeing extensively.

Yoga and Pilates support and complement each other. So if you are looking for a fitness boost or want to up the impact of your conscious health routine, here are several outcomes you’ll be welcome to see when combining both practices.

Hold Your Pose

The majority of the focus in Pilates routines is on the body’s powerhouse – the core. This intensive approach to conditioning the muscles of your torso help you create greater stability. This stability will improve your balance in Yoga poses and allows you to hold more difficult poses for longer.

Get Comfy

Greater conditioning of the core muscles through Pilates will bring you greater alignment. Even the alignment of our limbs originates in the core. Improved alignment allows us to create Yoga postures with greater ease and less risk of injury. Improving your alignment means you can be more comfortable in each posture and it allows for effective channelling of energy, which makes each and every asana more fulfilling.

Make The Connection

Although Pilates brings an intense focus to particular parts of the body – especially the core and the breath – Yoga fosters a deeper connection with all layers of the Self, including the mind. Honing and nourishing the mind in this way will indeed improve your entire life, but will specifically benefit your Pilates practice. You will be better able to connect with each movement and intimately sense what is occurring in all areas of the body.

Stop Exhausting Your Strong Points

Your stronger muscles will always try and take control, especially if your core is weak. Developing deeper core strength through Pilates will give you greater control – control over your centre of gravity, your movements and where tension is placed in the body.

For example, arm and shoulder strength are commonly overused in Chaturanga Dandasana (Low Plank pose). A stronger core will see the power come more from the midsection of the body, improving the asana itself and reducing fatigue, strain and injury on the upper body.

Get Mobile

Yoga improves your body’s flexibility and mobility – two aspects of health that are often overlooked. It is of no use building your strength if you cannot use it due to being unable to move effectively! Yoga helps to lengthen, rejuvenate and nourish the muscles which in turn reduces soreness, prevents injury and frees the body’s ability to move.

Isolate Movement Patterns

Where Yoga immerses you entirely in a full body routine, Pilates allows you to isolate the body’s specific movement patterns. Many people have trouble understanding what is going on in their body. Learning through highly focused methods during Pilates can help people become more knowledgeable about each body part in isolation. For example, gaining an intimate understanding of the mobility in your shoulder girdle or how the various joints in your hips and lower spine interact will improve your body’s engagement throughout your Yoga classes.

Seek Full Expression

Mix together the strength, stability and alignment built in Pilates with the mobility, connection and awareness created through Yoga, and you have a recipe for experiencing the full expression of asanas. Whether it be the ability to fully open the chest and gaze skyward in Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle pose) or finding your balance in advanced inversions – with all these ingredients you will be able to experience a new level of your practice.

Finetune Your Breathing

Breathwork in Pilates is an integral part of the practice. Not only does it improve your lung strength and capacity, but it also allows you to closely work on your breathing patterns. Learning to breathe under more tense circumstances, such as when the core is engaged, will teach you how to breathe steadily, deeply and with greater power throughout all your Yoga asanas and routines.

Perfect Your Sense of Flow

Along with breathing patterns, Pilates also requires you to embrace a certain rhythmic pattern of precise movements. These movements patterns occur repeatedly for each exercise, often as squeezes or pulsing. Practising rhythms such as these trains the body to move with rhythmic harmony. Balance within movement will allow you to flow from one asana to the next with a fluid control.

Overcome Physical and Mental Plateaus

By embracing both Pilates and Yoga you are opening up your practice to great variety. With variety comes new experiences. This can awaken the physical body to create positive changes to your muscle, bone and cellular health. Variety also helps to expand your mind. Exploring new aspects of your mental and emotional Self through such practices will open your mind, giving you a renewed sense of self-exploration, self-expression and deep appreciation.

Let go the idea that you have to ‘choose’ between Pilates and Yoga. Both bring great value to the body and mind, and even more so when practiced together as complementary methods.

Come along and visit us in our new combined space to see just how both our Pilates and Yoga classes can have a great impact on your practice, your health and your wellbeing.