People can be seen to align themselves with either Yoga or Pilates, which of course is fine. However, I prefer to embrace what it is they both offer in terms of health and wellbeing. My inital love of holistic practices began with Yoga. I was looking for a physical practice that was low intensity and had minimal impact and stress on my body. I wasn't prepared for what else I would experience by taking part in a yoga class. I clearly remember lying on the mat, fidgeting, to-do lists running through my mind, almost irritated by the music and loud breathing of others in the class. What I learned (thankfully quite quickly, is what this expereince was telling me about myself).
Learning to be mindful is not always experienced as a place of bliss, it can be crude and have you feeling vulnreable. Either way, it enables a sense of awakening.
I really fell in love with yoga when I recognised that it helped me forge a new relationship with myself. I always thought the compassion I felt for others I had towards myself, but through my mindful practices I was able to see my thoughts, actions and behaviours for what they were and change them when needed. I was so keen to share this with other people that following my training I was aware that despite the 'trend' of yoga, some people were hesitant to practice something that held spiritual connotations. Pilates came across to some as more accessible, particularly for people who didn't feel comfortable to practice yoga with their idea of spirituality.
The origins of Yoga and Pilates are undeniably different. Yoga was created as a practice leading one to spiritual enlightenment, whereas Pilates was embedded in rehabilitation. This is one of the reasons I trained as a Pilates teacher after my Yoga training. To welcome individuals whatever their intention or motivation, to explore mindful movement.
I am not going to mesh Yoga and Pilates together, although this has been done with great success and I do sometimes use a crossover if my clients wish. Rather, I am going to invite you to acknowledge and accept both as a holistic, contemplative practice that can offer you a variety of physical and mental benefits . Which can improve your wellbeing and enhance your quality of life. Inviting you to have this consideration is so that you are perhaps more open to explore both. Maybe we really don't need to align ourselves with one practice over another? It doesn't need to be the Yoga v Pilates clan. Can it just be what it is, when it is?
So, if you see a Yoga or Pilates class advertised, do go and try it out. Find teachers you like and connect with. Moreover, use the experience to cultivate the movements and moments which support your self-care regime and enable you to navigate life enjoyably!
Whenever you find yourself on the mat…take from the experience what it is you need and try and let go of what you don't.
Till then, take good care...
Please note that certain exercises may not be suitable for everyone. You should not begin any exercise routine without consulting a qualified health practitioner, particularly if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, elderly, or if you experince any chronic or recurring health conditions.