Much like Yoga, Pilates is a practice that
over the course of years of study can help
you connect on deeper levels to your body
through movement. Pilates and Yoga can
work well together for this reason. Even
though the two practices share some common foundations, there are differences in
the use of the body and equipment in the
two practices. The complementary nature
of the two can help enhance one’s ability
to engage in many of the more challenging Yoga asanas by practicing strength
and awareness-building Pilates techniques.
Additionally, practicing these basic Pilates
poses on the mat provides the practitioner
with additional support without the need
for Pilates props.
These are three Pilates mat exercises that
can help support your Yoga practice by
strengthening different muscle groups and
training the body to move differently.
This exercise involves sitting with the legs
in front of you and rolling the spine down
and then back up one vertebra at a time.
This serves as a counter stretch to the way
most Yoga positions ask you to use your
spine. Instead of straightening the spine
this Pilates position curves the spine to
stretch and open, while also engaging the
abdominal muscles. Additionally the arms
are held alongside the body as the shoulder
blades are pulled down as though you are
sliding them toward your back pockets.
With each repetition, sit taller and lengthen the spine. On the roll, the fingertips
and heels are reaching in opposition to the
abdomen on the roll and the head, neck,
and spine stretch tall in opposition to the
legs pressing down into the mat while sitting up.
This position is a cornerstone of much of
the Pilates work and will help you with positions from Uttanasana (standing forward
fold) and Downward Dog to Prasarita
Podottanasa. Because of its strong use of
planting the hips to the mat and drawing
the abdomen back, this exercise will assist
when doing the same action against gravity
in the Yoga asanas.
Directions: (see over age for visual)
Extend legs out in front of you, slightly wider than the shoulders. Keep the feet relaxed
if you are strong and tight. Flex the feet if
you want to build strength in the legs. >>