Yogalates is a popular combination of pilates principals combined with the popular mindful eastern traditions found in yoga. Most modern yoga classes incorporate components first found in pilates and vice-versa. This is usually a good thing as they complement each other greatly, with the potential to create an extremely balanced practice.
Classical yoga movements and alignments can sometimes challenge the new information about anatomy, movement and injury prevention. There is also a tendency for some traditions of yoga asana to lack balance in the front and back body.
The potential to create balance is vast as the exact opposite is true for pilates with prevention of injury, injury recovery, and creating a strong balanced body and core, the primary focus. Furthermore, traditional pilates is sometimes criticized for being devoid of mindfulness and spirituality – something yoga has in abundance.
Benefits Of Yogalates
Yogalates has the potential to offer us the perfect go-between, taking the core elements of both traditions and landing on a body balanced and mindful practice. A good yogalates class, therefore, can be in many respects the only session you will need.
1. Maintains The Traditional Way
It’s not only yogalates classes that see this combination of traditions but also more and more modern yoga sees the influence of ideas first seen in pilates.
Far more than just adding in pilates exercises to yoga sequences, we are seeing the detail of movements being modified, the use of the breath revised and even a shift in the way we look at alignment and form change, all more in line with lessons taken from pilates.
The influence of pilates on yoga is universally a good thing as long as the spiritual and mindfulness fundamentals of the practice aren’t lost. pilates, in fact, can give the yoga practice more intelligence, safety, and grounding.
2. Balances Core Strength And Stability
Another important benefit to this combination is that the pilates ideas work hard to fill the gap of core strength and core stability often left behind in a classical yoga practice. The Indian traditions focus on working with a flat back over and rounding of the spine and use of the core as we do more so today. This creates an imbalance with the back doing too much work and the core ending up weak – translating to a strong body when straight but weak whenever compromised or rounded.
3. Usage Of Props
Taking the idea a little further in this combination is the fusion in bringing the props like bands, balls and more designed for pilates into the yoga practice. If done well these can not only add interest but also add a great benefit when used.
These props help teach the body about correct activation and encourage stability and strength in a way yoga simply cannot. On the flip side, this makes many yoga purists blood boil. Moving further and further away from the traditions, yoga needs to be done mindfully and done in a way in which it doesn’t detract from the fundamentals of what the yoga practice is about.
4. Balances Between Yoga And Pilates
The transfer is now going the other way as well. With pilates classes beginning to take influence from yoga, not only does this include the adding in of active and passive stretching to balance the strong work of the pilates practice, but also with mindfulness and spirituality.
It is not uncommon for modern pilates classes to start or finish with savasana or meditation or for being mindfulness to be cued throughout the class.
What we can take from this discussion is that the combination of yoga and pilates is a very good thing. Whether it is as subtle as the adding in of some ideas from the other tradition, or as obvious as combination yogalates classes, this combination can complement and enhance the benefits for both.
Enjoy finding the maximum from your practice, and enjoy the health these combinations have to offer.