As a teacher of yoga and Pilates, I am aware that some people stick with either one method or the other as part of their exercise program. Even in our modern era of fitness, where crossover classes such as Yogilates are the latest rage, some choose to be loyal to their preferred modality.
While there are many similarities between yoga and Pilates, the differences that exist may be enough to tip the scale of favoritism.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a 5000-year-old discipline steeped in spirituality. The practice of yoga- however diluted by modern culture- still involves a whisper of self-reflection and divine connection. Good for the mind and the body, yoga rises above the realm of exercise because of its intention to elevate the consciousness of those who practice.
It has taken me a while to warm up to the concept, but I am a new Pilates fanatic. Maybe it’s that I now work from home, after 20 years in the restaurant business. Thankfully, I find myself slowing down enough to be conscious about my body; and consciousness is what Pilates is all about. I did some research, and found out something new and I wanted to share it with you.
I had always heard that Pilates was created as a workout for dancers, but that is simply not the case! According to Wikipedia, the creator, Joseph Pilates, designed the program during WWI to help returning, injured vets regain movement and health. He believed that the mind could control the muscles, and that deep, cleansing breathing was just as important as any exercise.
What I found most interesting is he seemed to articulate the concept of chi, or energy flow, without using the term. He designed his activities to redirect blood flow, which Chinese medicine calls chi or “qi”. It has been my experience that when I am ill, or having trouble losing weight, I look no further than a possible case of stuck “chi”, and with the aid of acupuncture, vitality is restored.
What can cause stuck “chi”? Funny you should ask, because it is usually the mind! Hmmm… Joseph Pilates made the mind-body connection, and the Chinese made it thousands of years before. Westerners are just beginning to wake to the idea. Still need convincing? Check out a diet here that provides some very credible evidence for the mind-weight loss connection.