If you have never taken Pilates before, you may be wondering what it is, or why try it verses yoga, or other classes that you might see on the schedule. Pilates exercises are designed to strengthen the body through core strength, body alignment and stretching.
Pilates has nine main principles, which are:
Regular practice of Pilates will help you to improve all of these skills. If you are just starting out though and that seems overwhelming, don’t worry! Most classes work at a slow pace, allowing you to get there in your own time. Breathing and breath control is very important in Pilates – full inhalation and forced exhalation, or lateral breathing, help to engage and strengthen your deep abdominal muscles. Pilates is a precise and controlled form of exercise, so it's better to work slowly, concentrating on getting each movement correct, rather than rushing through a workout. Pilates work starts at the center of the body, often referred to as the 'powerhouse' – this includes your abdomen, hips, upper and lower back, buttocks and inner thighs. Focusing on this area actually helps to strengthen your entire body!
Here are some of the great benefits of Pilates:
Toning- The slow controlled movements in Pilates help to gently tone muscles
Low Impact- No matter what your age or level, Pilates allows you to work at your own level and speed without any jumping up and down or strain on your joints
Core Strength- when your core muscles are strong, they take the load off your lower back, decreasing pain from daily activities, allowing you better posture, and giving you the look of a longer leaner tummy
Higher Energy- as with any exercise, you will feel more energized simply from getting your endorphins pumping, but Pilates in general is also fantastic for circulation, allowing your muscles, lungs and brain to get more oxygen which helps you feel stronger, more stimulated, more in control of your breath and even more focused
Improved Flexibility- Regular practice of Pilates techniques will really help increase your flexibility, which in turn makes moving easier, allows you a greater range of movement, improved balance, fewer injuries and improved posture
Heathy Body and Mind- Like Yoga, Pilates helps you relax and destress. Focusing on your body movements and connecting your breath to the movement helps you focus inward, become more in tune with your body and helps improve your concentration. Adding in a Pilates class is a great way to de-stress and re focus your mind, body and spirit!
So, what’s the difference between Pilates and Yoga? Where Yoga focuses on improving your quality of life by providing stress relief that improves your body, Pilates works from the center of your body outward. Increasing body awareness and working from your core, which results in a stronger body overall.
Yoga was created with the purpose of connecting the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness through physical activity. While practicing yoga, you build strength and flexibility, while also improving your emotional and spiritual health.
Pilates was developed to help build strength without adding bulk to the body. It is resistance training that focuses on building your core muscles, improving posture, stability and balance.
Both classes are beneficial and the best part is you don’t have to choose! Pilates and Yoga are extremely complimentary and combined together they provide an amazing way to transform your body!
If you have not tried our Pilates classes yet, check the schedule on mindbody and sign up for one today, you will not be sorry!