Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, yet many customers still confuse the practice with that of yoga. We can expound on and differentiate the two exercises.
The primary pilates principles focus heavily on posture, alignment, core, and breath, providing the foundations for the practice.
In Pilates, our core incorporates all four abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis, internal obliques, external obliques and transverse abdominis) muscles surrounding the spine , pelvic floor, and diaphragm. Think of a coke bottle (old school analogy, we vote to change that to a kombucha bottle :)) If the bottom was in front of or behind the top the contents would spill out; if the front or back wall was not supporting the contents, they would fall out. Strength, mobility, and function of the core are essential to our health. While Pilates core work may result in externally defined abs, we are more focused on functional work, such as keeping our organs in place. As we age, have babies, etc, gravity continues to pull, and core work becomes that much more essential.
The aim of Pilates is ease of function: good posture, strong core, and a properly functioning diaphragm secure our organs, allow for healthy breathing, and support the spine. Our core houses the central nervous system, necessary for a healthy foundation.
Exercises in Pilates are practiced through repetition.
Pilates creates strong, lean muscles by using dynamic flexibility as we strengthen the muscles.
Pilates can be applied to any movement, such as golf, horseback riding, skiing, walking, standing, etc.
In a yoga class, we first bring awareness to breath. Yoga aims to calm and align both the body and the mind.
Yoga has a sequence: flow through a series of movements, eventually arriving in a posture, typically a warrior pose, held for three - five breaths.
There is a spiritual component to yoga; Ujjayi breath is used to bring calmness to the body and mind. This is beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety.
Each yoga class ends with savasana: time to reflect and quiet the mind. Carving out time to find stillness, with the energy of others around you, is calming and invigorating at the same time. Savasana is well known for being a favorite moment in a yoga class.
At Niche, we love and support Pilates and Yoga. Our talented team of instructors focuses on Pilates, though some of our movements are inspired by yoga. Private sessions may incorporate yoga practices, such as yin yoga, for those who need time to stretch and relax.