I am often asked what the main benefits of Pilates are as opposed to Yoga and which are the benefits of Yoga practice as opposed to Pilates. How do they differ and how do they compare?
In my experience they both ultimately offer us a sense of centre and connection.
Pilates has a strong emphasis on the central core muscles and is fantastic for developing strength and control from our centre. Its strong focus on conscious placement and alignment provides the body with an orientation. This orientation for the body brings about a better overall balance in movement and the body is taught to initiate all movement from a controlled centre. After just one session of Pilates many people describe an new-found awareness in their posture and a feeling of support around their mid-body.In my experience when the body has a strong center it can have a very empowering effect on the mind.
Yoga practice develops a greater consciousness of the various layers of our being. Not just our physical body but also our energetic, emotional, intelligent and spiritual body. Undoubtedly Yoga asana practice both strengthens and stretches the body but ultimately asana practice is used to prepare the body for stillness. In a society where we have become more and more sedentary we crave movement and our culture values “doing” much more than “being”. So being still can pose a big challenge on many levels. Yoga practice teaches us to extend the self, mind, intelligence and consciousness together with the inner organs and outer body bringing about a unified state. Not separate. Again a strong sense of centre, of connection with self, which ultimately leads to a unified state with all which surrounds us.
Which is best? Which one to choose? Which brings most benefit?
The answer is both. They are a perfect complement to each other.
A marriage made in heaven!