Many people ask the question "what is the difference between Yoga and Pilates?"
Firstly, the breath is different for Yoga and Pilates, the focus is slightly different. In Pilates we breathe into the sides and and back of our rib cage and the lower lobes of the lungs. We breathe in through the nose and out through pursed lips. The exhale is used when flexing the body and to help engage the core or power house. Stabilizing shoulders, rig cage, pelvis, finding our pelvic floor connection and neutral spine (or imprinted spine) before movement. Pilates exercises are designed to flow like Yoga, but perhaps Yoga has more exercises that require you to balance and hold a position with correct breathing and control.
Yoga is a three part breath filling the belly, and allowing the breath to fill the ribs and body in a slightly different way and reversing that breath to exhale.
Yoga is great and the focus is on stretching and strengthening the body. Modifications can include the use of the Yoga strap and Yoga block, towel or pillows.
Pilates did take movements from many different sources when he introduced his method and some movements look similar for example cat and cobra. The contemporary Pilates method will focus on small controlled movements with each part of the body engaged giving maximum support to the lower spine before movement. Emphasis is also on shoulder stabilization and core engagement.
Progression is made to challenge the body with the focus on more complicated movements. The ability to co-ordinate arms, legs, feet, and hands with the rest of the body is tested.
Modifications in Pilates will allow you, the client, to focus on stabilization to control your movement. This is important to help ensure that you do not hurt yourself or strain your neck or lower spine.
Modifications can include the use of a towel, the arc barrel, Yoga block, or Yoga strap. Emphasis should be on correct stabilization and movement.
The Pilates reformer, stability chair and cadillac are a few of the pieces of equipment used that have springs to offer resistance.
On a more personal note, after my back surgery, I introduced some Yoga to my routine. At the time my Pilates instructor was teaching a little Yoga and I decided to join that class once a week.
To my surprise, one day while performing a stretch through my spine, my back "released" and I heard a "wow Dawn, you could not do that before!" I had been taking Pilates for over a year and Pilates had strengthened my core considerably. The slow controlled Yoga movements helped to relax and release my muscles.
Both Yoga and Pilates are excellent forms of exercise and I enjoy both!