Pilates… that’s a bit like yoga, right?
As a Pilates teacher, I get asked this question a lot. On the surface, it’s true that Pilates and yoga look pretty similar – both are usually mat-based, both involve strengthening and stretching, and both can be fantastic for your wellbeing. Modern Pilates even borrows from yoga sometimes – my classes often include ‘downward facing dog’ and ‘cat stretch’. However, as our lives become busier and more entwined with technology, it’s yoga that most people turn to for time-out. Yoga has become a byword for self-care, whereas Pilates can seem more about exercise.
However, when I speak to my Pilates clients, self-care is actually one of the top reasons that they love coming to class. Barbara, a community nurse, told me, “life is always too busy with children and we often put our needs as a mother to the bottom of the list… I can see how through neglect, many of my muscles have been unused, or not kept strong”. In fact, many of my clients are busy parents who rush to class after dropping off their children or putting them to bed. Pilates is a time to really focus on the body, and, in doing that, to temporarily put external worries to one side.
Of course, there’s more to Pilates than just taking time-out. Pilates is the exercise that physiotherapists will often recommend, and that’s because it can teach you essential information about your body. Many of my clients come to class to sort out aches and pains, especially back pain. Oliver, a keen runner, wrote in to say, “when I joined a year or so ago, I was basically a bit of a wreck. Louise has been amazing in putting me back together. The class I have with her is one of the most important sport things I do each week”. However, the truth is that I didn’t put Oliver back together – he did. For me, the most important thing about attending an exercise class isn’t mastering specific poses, it’s learning how to look after your body in your day-to-day life. When I’m teaching Pilates, I always give as much information as possible so that my clients can apply it to how they sit, stand, walk and run – not just how they do a downward dog.
Perhaps the most obvious difference between Pilates and yoga is that there is no spiritual side to Pilates. Whilst many people embrace the traditions of yoga, it’s not for everyone. Afsi, who attends both yoga and Pilates, says “I sometimes find exercise classes a bit cringey but Louise has such a warm and easy going approach that I never feel self-conscious or embarrassed”.
Of course, the best way to find out more about Pilates is to come along. I can promise that there’ll be no chanting, no meditation – just a big welcome and a workout that leaves you feeling rejuvenated.
Find all the class details HERE – If you mention that you heard about me through York Mumbler, you’ll get your first class for free!
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