Is Pilates like yoga?

Yes, there are similarities between Pilates and Yoga, partly because Joseph Pilates consciously drew on both Eastern and Western traditions when first developing his method.

However, there are also key differences. 

Pilates, for example, is more dynamic than Yoga, which places more emphasis on the static holding of certain poses.

Pilates also focuses more on strengthening the deepest layers of abdominal muscles, which form a corset around your torso.

If you have the time, there is no reason why you should not do both and get different benefits from each.

Pilates Has Key Elements

In order to get the most from Pilates we need to firstly get the elements right. This includes alignment of the body, breathing and getting that core activated. 

Alignment

When we look at alignment of the body in Pilates we need to focus on three key areas. The head/neck, shoulders and rib cage. 

Neck/Head

Starting from the top (neck/head) we need to create length through the back of the neck with a slight chin tuck to create a neutral and stable position for the head. 

In standing imagine a piece of string pulling through the crown of the head and your holding an apple under the chin.

Shoulders 

I want you to imagine you are creating a nice big smile across the front of your chest. 

Now can you feel those shoulders coming together in the middle of the back, and your chest opening up. 

Now that is your optimal shoulder placement. 

Doing this throughout the day will start to bring more awareness to your posture and where those shoulders should be. 

Rib cage

Those darn ribs can be the cause of a lot of issues. Learning to tame the ribs will help not only create length in the body, but also help you to breath better. 

You want to imagine that the rib cage is melting down towards your hips. Think of a slinky. When the slinky is open on one side that is like when your ribs are protruding out. When the slinky is closed so are your ribs. 

Breathing

The one that always has everyone baffled. Breathing should be so easy we do it everyday. But do you breathe laterally?

I like to think of the ribcage like a balloon. When you breathe in that balloon should expand out and slightly up. 

When you breathe out that balloon will deflate and let all the air out. 

Take your time with breathing and relax those shoulders. 

The Core 

We all probably know we are meant to activate the core, but do we really know how?

Think of your deep core muscle as a corset. It wraps from front to back and attaches at the bottom of the ribs and the top of the hips. 

That is what is keeping your lower back stable, or at least it’s trying to. 

Imagine if that corset wasn’t tight enough it would probably move around and not be of much use.

Well now you need to get that muscular corset to do the job of keeping you supported. 

But how do I hear you ask.

Can you pull your belly button back towards your spine?

Can you feel a deep dull ache in the abdominals when you do that?

If the answer is yes then that’s the muscular corset firing up. 

Seems simple but there is much more to it than that.

Maintaining this can prove to be hard. We recommended thinking about all of these elements all of the time. 

When you’re in a queue, sit at your desk or on the sofa, or evening walking. 

Can you keep your body in a good alignment?

If not it is definitely something to work on. 

As you can see there is a lot more to Pilates than one might expect.