In the world of yoga and Pilates, there’s often a preference for one over the other. But have you thought about combining the two into your workout schedule?
When combined, the practices offer a perfect balance between building strength and stability and mindful movement and flow.
Yoga and reformer Pilates are both transformational methods that focus on the mind, body and spirit.
There are similarities between each practice but also significant differences too.
Build flexibility and core strength
Yoga concentrates on large, functional movements to increase our overall strength and flexibility in the spine and limbs. Pilates on the other hand, focuses on building a deep core strength – a powerhouse – and correct muscle activation, which is amazing for alleviating back pain, injury prevention and creating a long, lean body type.
Both have transformational health benefits and have been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, rehabilitate certain injuries and improve awareness of our bodies and emotions through breath and movement.
Learning how to really breathe
Yes, we breathe on autopilot. It keeps us alive but most of us don’t even think about it. Scientific research shows that mindful breathing – paying attention to our breathe and learning how to change it – is one of the most effective ways to improve everything from our mood to metabolism.
In yoga, the primary goal is the connection to breath and various pranayama techniques are often used. Pilates encourages breathing in through the nose and out of the mouth to assist in engaging a deep abdominal connection.
Breathing in pilates is rejuvenating, detoxifying and is a means of enhancing awareness; as it is in yoga. How we breathe affects the depth we can go in each movement and it clarifies and calms the mind, paving the way for a better, more holistic experience in class.
The benefits of an integrated yoga and pilates practice
Pilates can transform your practice on the yoga mat.
It increases stability, so you’ll find your ability in balancing poses in yoga improves. Pilates also builds our lower abdominal and psoas muscles, which helps us to float and fly, and maintain control in inversions like handstands, headstands and scorpion.
Taking up a regular yoga practice such as Yin or Vinyasa will help stretch out the muscles you’re working in Pilates. Meaning you’ll be less sore after practice and more flexible in the more dynamic movements.
Ready to try both practices together?
You can practice unlimited yoga and reformer Pilates at BodyMindLife on our all-inclusive membership.