Pilates or Yoga?
Cheese or tulips? Swimming or cycling ? Bruce Lee or Rudolf Nureyev?
What’s the difference?
On the surface, both disciplines present similarities like breathing, moving and wearing stretchy apparel. When we look closer they are as different as Martial Arts are to Ballet. I’d even go as far as to say that if they were people one would be Bruce Lee (fighting streak aside) and the other, Rudolf Nureyev.
Are you a budding Rudolf or grasshopper Bruce?
- Would you like to be strong and flexible in both your mind and your body?
- Would you like to be strong and flexible in your mind, your body and your spirit?
It could also be that neither of the above apply. The reality is that you have only a precious hour to do something good for yourself and haven’t a clue which one to choose from.
Let us say just for a moment that yoga is Bruce Lee, but without the karate chop.
Bruce practised his Kata daily. He learned to breathe well and came to understand how breath stimulated his nervous system. He figured out how breathing impacted upon his energy levels and his quality of movement. He studied philosophy. He meditated and he had a great respect for the laws of nature.
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” Bruce Lee.
Like martial arts, yoga is an ancient discipline that is part of a greater philosophy. When practised regularly -apart from making us strong and flexible- it brings with it deeper self-awareness and a connection with all things like trees, earth’s creatures and ‘stuff’ much bigger than us. In yoga, we refer to this as the 8 limbs. Each limb presents one subject ranging from self-awareness and breathing to yoga postures and a greater consciousness.
‘There are many styles of yoga’
Yoga like martial arts has many styles. None more important than the other, each bringing its own approach, and all with the same intention. To develop greater awareness of yourself and a better connection with the universe.
Yoga goes the extra mile in the spiritual department although it’s not obligatory to do so. People experience it at a level that they find comfortable. Many people take a yoga class just because they want to become more stretchy. They might want to learn how to breathe better or just to relax.
Now let’s take a look at Rudolf. He was also a dedicated student, he practised his art daily. He had great discipline, he was strong, supple and powerful. He was also known for a few philosophical quotes.
‘Art and movement are nurtured nature. It is intelligence applied to what physical ability you have.’ Rudolf Nureyev.
Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates and is widely used among great athletes and ballet dancers to help them to connect with their powerhouse. (Their core). It also proved to be effective when used to rehabilitate injured veterans. Like yoga and Martial Arts, it requires a conscious connection to your movement and to your breath.
Not only is Pilates amazing for building strength and stamina in your postural muscles. It covers everything from shoulder girdle to your pelvic floor. It’s an important method to help you to recover from injury and for getting your body back into shape postpartum.
There are reps, not many, usually between 8 -10. Low repetitions don’t overtire the muscles and because you won’t exhaust yourself you will stay present and aware of your movements. This connection will facilitate a greater demand for adaptations in your body and within a short time you will notice that:
- Your muscles will become leaner and longer.
- Your posture will improve significantly.
Whatever you decide and for whatever reason, Pilates and yoga are beautiful practices. Both provide a vehicle to enable students to consciously reconnect.
Rudolf or Bruce? Cycling or swimming? Tulips or cheese?
It’s usually down to a simple matter of preference and often you are influenced just because you like the teacher. The very fact that you want to move your body and become healthier is to be celebrated. Think of it as motion is lotion for your body, mind and soul.
See you on the mat!
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.