Yoga and Pilates are both unique forms of exercise in their own ways, but they also complement each other very well. Sometimes, joining a Yoga class when your regular practice is Pilates-based can lend a fresh perspective to the way you approach your Pilates workouts as a whole. Here are a few examples of Yoga poses you could incorporate into your practice to add a more mindful approach to your Pilates class.
1. The Mountain Pose
Benefits: Improves posture, helps you to find your centre, offers a time for mental clarity
One of the best ways to start any workout is to start standing to help transition from your outside world to your workout. This Yoga pose is called The Mountain Pose because it promotes the experience of stillness, strength, relaxed power, and immovable stability associated with mountains. Start your Pilates class with The Mountain Pose to centre yourself and mentally prepare yourself for the upcoming workout.
2. The Tree Pose
Benefits: Improves your balance, strengthens your thighs, calves, ankles, and spine
The best way to wake the body up and stimulate the nervous system is with a balancing exercise. After centring and mentally preparing for the class with The Mountain Pose, going into The Tree Pose is the perfect way to fire the nervous system and start warming the body up. It’s called The Tree Pose because you stabilise yourself by rooting your supporting foot into the ground and stand as tall as a tree while balancing.
3. The Seated Twist Pose
Benefits: Gives you a great stretch, especially after long hours sitting at the office
Twisting the spine in a stretch like this is the equivalent to wringing the spine out, ridding it of any tension and tightness. Add this Yoga pose to your Pilates workout to ensure you’re moving your spine in all it’s ranges of motion.
4. The Downward Dog Pose
Benefits: Stretches the entire backside of the body. Strengthens hands, arms, and upper body. Increases circulation to brain
This Yoga pose strengthens and stretches the body at the same time. It puts some load-bearing on the shoulders and arms, and it increases circulation to upper body. Use this pose in your Pilates class as a transition when going from the floor to a standing position. The idea in this pose is to form a triangular, pyramidal shape. You’ll look like a dog stretching after a nap.
5. The Corpse Pose
Benefits: Practising the Corpse pose stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. The benefits of this include lowered blood pressure, a decreased heart rate and decreased muscle tension
The Corpse pose is one of deep restoration. It requires a conscious decision to still the constant mental chatter. It allows your body time to process the information and benefits received from the workout. Use The Corpse Pose to round off your Pilates class by giving yourself time afterwards to reflect on what you’ve achieved during your workout.
Incorporating these Yoga poses into your Pilates class will truly help you to tap into the important mind/body connection that should be part of your Pilates practise but is so often neglected. Enjoy the rediscovery of the mind/body connection in your Pilates practice through these beneficial Yoga poses.