YOU’RE ONLY AS YOUNG AS YOUR SPINE
– The Amazing Benefits of Pilates
Pilates is an excellent supplement to Yoga practice. Regular practice of Pilates strengthens the deep postural and core muscles which helps to make your Yoga poses stronger. Though Pilates practice you will also enhance your body awareness which can then be applied to your Yoga practice (the same principles of functional movement apply in both practices). This is particularly beneficial for the areas of common weakness, such as the lower back. A well placed and muscularly supported lower spine in Yoga as well as in Pilates practice is essential.
If you are already experiencing any discomfort of the back as a result of a poor posture or a lack of exercise, Pilates is a great starting point in learning how to work with your back. A lot of the exercises are done on the floor which relieves the back muscles from the pull of gravity. Small precise movements (muscular contractions) are performed to target the core muscles, strengthening and stretching them.
Pilates is a series of low impact exercises sequences performed in repetitions to strengthen the muscles around the joints – primarily spine, hips and shoulders, which is important for Yoga stretches that can take joints to their maximum/end range of flexibility. There are plenty of exercises in the Pilates repertoire for a whole body workout, including weight bearing that is good for bone health and some cardiovascular work, working with your own body weight and with small props, e.g. resistance bands, balls, foam rollers.
Pilates classes may vary in style. However, the exercises can always be modified to suit the individual needs, e.i. pregnancy, injury and post-operative rehabilitation.
They can be fun, just like Yoga with its additional aspect of breath control (Pranayama) and meditation.
Pilates also requires concentration and focus, because the body is moved through precise ranges of motion. One has to concentrate on their body in finding a centre point from which to control the body through movement. This fosters a whole body awareness which leads to good muscle patterning and body balance. Pilates exercises, much like Yoga postures, also have a prescribed placement, rhythm and breathing pattern.
Both practices compliment each other. The exercise part of Yoga practice, the Asana – yoga posture, works essentially on the same principles as Pilates, but with a different approach – through holding of the postures.
Through the Pilates method, you will develop long and strong muscles. Strong and flexible muscle is the healthiest type of muscle tissue in terms of an effective posture and ease of movement. This elongating effect helps to decompress the joints, thus relieving back pain. Viva pain free back and a joy of movement!
Joseph Pilates (hence the Pilates method) used to say that: “You are only as young as your spine!”
These are the most rewarding results of Pilates. The benefits are reaped through regular practice – at least twice a week is recommended for Pilates. Adding this to your fitness regime alongside your Yoga practice, can help to take it to the next level in terms of core awareness and strength and postural (alignment) precision in your Yoga postures, keeping your body strong and supple for a long time to come.
Andrea’s Classes Schedule
Light Centre Monument
Mondays 12.45-13.30 & 13.30-14.15
Light Centre Belgravia
Fridays 10.30-11.30am & 13.15-14.15