Sure you can throw yourself around in bendy stretchy yoga postures 3-4 times a week but are you structurally sound? Getting flexible is great and most of us need a lot of yoga but if you aren’t able to differentiate between strong abs and core strength you might as well do 12oz curls and call it a workout.
It wasn’t until I went to a class with Ana Forrest that it dawned on me. We hardly ever do ab work in yoga. From our traditional yoga upbringing, classes were gentler and more passive than they are today. Now we have Power Yoga, Hot Yoga, Aerobic Yoga and Sun Salutations so fast your wondering if the class still aligns with the mindfulness yoga claims. So of course with all that activity we should definitely do our ab work. But if you are not understanding HOW to do this work then your missing the whole point, and still headed for injury.
Pilates not only teaches you how to engage your deepest core muscle, the transversus abdominis, but also teaches you how to breathe without loosing strength and stability in the abs. By using post lateral breathing, some good visuals and proprioceptive props such as small weighted balls, therabands and magic circles pilates will transform your yoga postures into blossoming flowers of bliss. Learning the difference between an imprint, neutral and an arched back guides me so that every posture has a strength, structure and an easily elongated spine. Pilates will deepen your mind body connection from the inside out in profound ways as you understand your bones and muscles and how they work or sometimes don’t work together.
How long did it take me to figure this out? A long time but it was worth the knowledge I now have in my body. My yoga practice is now a joyful exploration between movement and stillness, substance and space. Using my core has helped me find ways to stretch and expand without overdoing it and pulling ligaments.
Pilates will transform your practice and re-shape even the best yoga bodies. Find a class with a certified trainer preferably at a pilates studio or one in conjunction with a yoga studio or physical therapy office.
And don’t forget to take your powerhouse!