I have always thought of the combination of Pilates and Yoga as the perfect marriage.
Both are transformational, focused methods of movement that literally help you to “meet” yourself, to discover your capabilities and facilitate positive change in the body, mind and spirit. In my opinion, their differences complement one another in the best of ways. While Yoga is better known for its philosophical and spiritual components, Pilates also inspires spiritual evolution, but this aspect is not emphasized as much as the physical component; Pilates is known as a “workout,” and Yoga as a “practice,” however, the irony here, is that in order to get good at anything, we have to practice, and done correctly, both Pilates and Yoga are both a workout and a practice. And as you will see, both are worthy of your time and attention for innumerable reasons.
Here’s a cool, little-known fact for many of you out there: Joseph H. Pilates, who invented the Pilates Method, studied yoga and most of the exercises you’ll see in a Pilates workout are inspired by yoga. The poses in yoga are incredibly similar to the shapes and positions of the body in Pilates exercises; the difference is that in yoga, one holds poses longer, and in Pilates, you move at a slightly faster pace. Rather than holding a pose longer the way you would in a yoga class, staying in one position and cajoling the body into stretching more deeply through the breath, in Pilates, the practitioner dynamically extends as far as possible into a greater range of motion within a limited amount of time using self-imposed isometric resistance, core awareness and breath.
Both Pilates and yoga are intended to cultivate greater awareness and connection between the body and the mind, which in turn, enlivens the spirit.
Both help us to focus on the process, the “journey” of moving, breathing and stretching, rather than the end goal, which can be anything from a stronger, well-toned body to peace of mind.
Both encourage you to focus on the present moment and the movement itself rather than the outcome; they are each regimes that promote consciousness, evolution and self-transformation, while helping you to accrue innumerable health benefits that arise from the specific combination of connecting conscious breath to movement.
The subtle magic of Pilates and Yoga is that the work grows as you do. You rise to higher levels of challenge as your self-awareness and experience deepen. As you gain insight and as your actual physical strength increases, the work refines and redefines itself.
Both are refreshing approaches that see our physical activity as a way to restore total oneness with ourselves and create harmony with our body, mind and spirit, and under this notion, exercise becomes the means to experiencing a personal potential greater than the physical skills themselves.