COMBINING YOGA AND PILATES: A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
COMBINING YOGA AND PILATES: A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH Often we sit very firmly in either the Yoga camp or the Pilates camp, and for some it can take a hard push to be swayed to cross the front line. However, combining these two amazing disciplines is a powerful way to maximise your full body health, and this is why. There is no doubt that yoga has the ability to strengthen the body, but most of the postures practiced will engage the larger global muscles and make us feel stronger on the outside. Whilst this is both brilliant and necessary, Pilates focuses on the smaller, more internal muscles, where correctly activating these leads to greater stabilisation of the skeletal system making you stronger on the inside. Combining strength in these two key stabilising muscle groups will improve your balance, inversions, and standing postures faster, catapulting you into a higher level of practice and enabling you to progress to more challenging postures. That being said, the way in which yoga increases flexibility will ensure that the muscles you do build through Pilates will be long and lean, akin to a graceful dancer, and this is imperative for good posture and free movement. Pilates places a huge emphasis on core control which will not only give you a wash board stomach to envy, but helps to protect and support the back, diminishing pain and allowing you to go deeper into your practice whilst still staying safe in your joints and ligaments. The precision with which Pilates is practiced will begin to teach you good alignment in movement keeping vulnerable areas strong and helping you become more aware of your own limitations and poor postural habits. Combine this with the mindfulness you will begin to develop through the meditative quality of yoga, and you will learn very quickly how to become more self-aware, reducing overthinking and making better decisions with a slower, calmer mind and a more open aligned body. In short, bringing Yoga and Pilates together will give you a greater understanding of your own anatomy, keep you focused on better alignment and posture, build long lean muscles so that you feel strong yet flexibly and at the same time clear the clutter from your mind reducing stress building tension. So, next time you take to the mat, consider crossing over to the other side and explore what the other camp has to offer.
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