What is Pilates? What is Yoga?

It can be daunting to walk into a Pilates or Yoga studio for the first time, especially if you are coming from a place of pain, injury or a prolong absence from exercise, it can be daunting to try and make those first few tentative steps to improve your life. Let us help you in that process. Even the most accomplished Yogi or Pilates practitioner, had the same feeling when they walked into their first class. But knowing some things to expect in your first few lessons should make the whole experience easier.

What is Pilates?
Joseph Pilates believed that his conditioning system would help develop an efficient and uniformly developed body that moved without any extra strain or tension. This system will lead you a graceful sense of your body that comes from an engaged core, a fluid spine, and an expressive carriage of the body and limbs.

What is Yoga?
Yoga, meaning “to yoke”, is practice of finding the union of the spirit and breath with the physical.  By working through the asanas, the physical practice, a deeper connection and appreciate of the internal dialogue of the body systems are cultivated.

From the practice of asana we build the tools of self awareness that gives us more mental space and clarity to deal with the situations that confront us. We bring an awareness to the unique capabilities of our bodies and the sense of empowerment as we notice improvements and changes that occur with a consistent practice. This tradition of over 5,000 years provides a path to go deeper into your journey for self discovery and spiritual awareness.

What should you wear to your Pilates/Yoga lesson?
You should feel comfortable in the clothes that you choose to wear to class and be able to move without restriction. In both Pilates and Yoga, we strive to increase our range of motion, you don’t want your clothing being the limiting factor. It isn’t necessary that your clothes be tight, but the more form fitting it is, the easier it is for your teacher to watch your form and alignment and the easier it is for you to move without swimming in fabric.

What if something doesn’t feel right?
The teacher always has your best interest at heart and works hard to create a safe but challenging experience for you in every class. That said, this is YOUR body and if you don’t feel comfortable with executing an exercise, voice your concerns to your teacher. It is a chance to dialogue and bring clarity around the movement and your body, and at the end of that talk you can still choose to not do the Yoga pose or the Pilates exercise, but you will at least do it from a place of greater understanding.

I don’t understand breathing techniques used in Pilates and Yoga and have trouble staying in sync. What should I do?
We breathe all the time, most of the time quite unconsciously. Both in Yoga and Pilates, the breath plays a key part of what is being practiced. Whether it’s by oxygenating the blood more efficiently, guiding the focus, or as a tell for when we are no longer practicing in the moment, the breath is vital piece of our practice. That said, the first skill to cultivate is an awareness of when and how we are breathing and eventually you will be able to guide and control it to be in tune with your specific movements. So in the beginning, simply use the cues to breathe in and out as a reminder to check in with your breath. Eventually, you will gain more strength, awareness and control, to coordinate your breath to a specific timing.

What do I do if I have an injury?
Always tell your teacher if you are dealing with an injury or anything else that should warrant special consideration of your physical needs (i.e. pregnancy, scoliosis). They can watch your form to make sure you’re not exacerbating the injury and offer suggestions for modifications or variations throughout class.

What if I have to leave the Pilates/Yoga class early?
Life happens and we all know that sometimes, it can get in the way of our practice. It’s understandable. If you need to leave the class early, please notify your teacher before the class starts and when you make your exit, be mindful of the people still in the class. For both Pilates and Yoga, you want to make sure that you finish having done both sides of an exercise or pose, and in Yoga specifically, take a few minutes to lie in corpse pose (Savasana) before leaving the class to round out your practice. It is a opportunity for your body to “reboot” and integrate the changes to your system that the practice brought about.

Now there’s nothing stopping you. Click here to get started on your journey to better health and movement.