Pilates is a physical exercise method/system created by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. It was created to help his asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever and was named ‘Contrology’ by Joseph himself; it is now practiced worldwide to improve musculoskeletal health and function, challenging every muscle group in the body. There are 34 original exercises and 6 principles we practice from the Pilates method (breathing, concentration, control, centring, precision and flow), with new exercises coming in to keep up with the changes our generation faces such as sitting at a desk all day, facing more stress etc.
Pilates is performed on a mat using body weight as the load or resistance, however equipment such as small balls, fitness balls, foam rollers, resistance bands and Pilates circles etc are introduced to the mat exercises to help build additional resistance, challenging the body more. Off the mat, other more advanced exercises if not similar can be performed using a Reformer/Cadillac and or Tower etc which is something I am eventually as a teacher going to qualify in and teach.
Yoga isn’t something we can explain, it’s something that is personal to each and every one of us with our own journey. Yoga is seen as a more spiritual practice which is why the tool of yoga supports more of our mental health not just through meditation or the poses, but through the breathing techniques we use as well.
Yoga goes back thousands and thousands of years ago, no one actually knows when yoga was found as they believe it to be in ancient texts, however Yoga isn’t just practiced on the mat with poses we often see others in, it’s practiced off the mat as well, bringing the 8 limbs of yoga into place (Yamas: self-restraint, Niyama: observance, Asana: poses, Pranayama: breath, Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses, Dharana: concentration, Dhyana: meditation and Samadhi: union).
There are many types and styles of yoga which can be found in the blog on this website.
In more physical terms, Yoga asanas (poses) are practiced on the mat or even without, using the breath with the movement of the body, building strength in certain areas of the body, along with a more emphasis on gaining more flexibility, balance and relaxation helping our mental health.
Although many benefits are similar, Pilates is a lot more focused on exercises and strengthening the muscles and joints in our body, preventing and helping injuries, whereas Yoga is a lot more focused on a spiritual path/journey leading with more flexibility in the physical body. Pilates and Yoga go very well together because Yoga focuses a little more on flexibility and Pilates more on actual exercises building strength and stability, to which if we want to gain more flexibility in a certain area of the body, we might want to strengthen our muscles first which can help aid our flexibility. Weak and sometimes tight muscles are what need strengthening otherwise that’s when we start to incur pain and injuries in the body.
We offer Yoga and Pilates classes both online classes and face-to-face in Leeds. Take a look at our class timetable and book onto a class to suit you.