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10 Good reasons why Yogi’s should do Pilates

10 Good reasons why Yogi’s should do Pilates

I was young, agile and very bendy. Doing a yoga practice in my early days back in the 80’s I enjoyed doing really advanced poses. My party trick was the jumping splits!

I wish I had met myself as I am now back then. What I would have said is, “take it easy, if you keep allowing teachers to sit on you and reef you into those mad twists, you will injure yourself. Do you know how precious your knees actually are?”

Without a teacher to encourage moderation, to remind me to work gently into postures and focus equally on strength as well as flexibility, I carried on pushing myself beyond my physical limits, a very Western habit.

Cut to 2011, in the last 12 months I have been a physiotherapists dream. So for me it is back to Pilates!

Did you know that in the past 9 years of all the people who come to the studio only 10% of you do both Pilates AND yoga. Most people stick to one or the other. It’s a bit like having two competing tribes at the studio. And over the years I have heard how each of you prefer the merits of your chosen exercise.

Yogi’s say Pilates is too boring for them. Pilates people say they just cant lie still!

Why do you yogis need Pilates?

So you have been practising yoga for more than a year, your flexibility and strength is improving,  and your mind is learning how to be still and calm.

But if strength hasn’t been at the forefront of your practice,  your intrinsic muscles are very probably weakened. Have you really worked hard in engaging the correct muscles and relaxing others in each and every posture?

The reason being is that although yoga works nearly every system in your body, most of us tend to work on flexibility in postures and do not yet have the awareness to turn on all those deep and difficult muscles. And this is where Pilates comes into its own.

9 ways Pilates helps Yogi’s:

  • Much more focus is given to strengthening core muscles in Pilates. This gives better strength in balancing, inversions and core postures like navasana
  • It helps keep your knees strong. Yoga tends to focus most on the back and front of the legs. The often torturous side lying series in Pilates works the muscles on the outside and inside of your thighs. These are crucial in keeping your knees stable. Yoga can be tough on the knees if you push yourself too far. Pilates will give you more protection and keep from this happening.
  • The shoulder girdle is opened in yoga. Arm balances and standing poses will strengthen many of the muscles. However the rotator cuff is a little more complicated and vulnerable. And unless you specifically set your shoulder blades in the correct position both doing yoga and with your every day posture. The upper muscles in the back tend to take over. This can lead to weakness in the shoulders more intrinsic muscles. Pilates will work to strengthen these and avoid future shoulder pain.
  • More focus is given to strengthening your back in Pilates. Again, yoga helps with flexibility and there are a few asana’s that help strengthen your back. However, forms of yoga with lots of forward bends can weaken your back over time if strengthening is not done to counter act this.
  • Pilates will educate your body to keep a good posture and a neutral spine. We see many a bum sticking out in yoga poses and really it is not helping your lower back. It is normally due to abdominal weakness and tightness in the front of the thighs. Pilates will train your body to keep good alignment at all times.
  • Pilates will help the alignment of your head in relation to your upper body. Alignment is very precise in Pilates and if you naturally let you head loll about or jut it forwards to much. Pilates will help correct this.
  • For Ashtanga and Vinyasa students, Pilates gives you amazing core strength helping with jumping through and back from down dog.
  • It will help stay injury free for your yoga practice.
  • And the more you practice Pilates, the more your body will strengthen for yoga.

Beginners Pilates starting soon

If you want to give our Pilates foundation course a lash, we have two four week beginners courses starting each month.

The reason why Pilates practitioners should do yoga is a whole different kettle of fish and I will get into that at a later date. Any comments you have I will be delighted to hear them.

About the author: Lisa Wilkinson

Lisa Wilkinson

Lisa opened The elbowroom in February 2003. Mother to Tuilelaith and Sean, director of The elbowroom and with a crew of over 60 staff, she is a busy bee. Lisa leads a team committed to bringing health and vitality to all of her clients. Lisa currently teaches in our yoga training programs and oversees pregnancy yoga and mum & baby yoga. Lisa works hard developing healthy food choices for Yin & Tonic @ The elbowroom. She specialises paediatric and pregnancy with workshops, yoga therapy, and craniosacral therapy.

The elbowroom has an extensive range of classes for all ages and abilities. We offer such an eclectic mix to enable you to find something that will suit you. If you need any advice, please contact our class advisor who can point you in the right direction.