What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?
Pilates and Yoga are a wonderful complement to one another. I’ve often compared the differences like this: From the outside, with Pilates exercises your body appears constantly in motion, while on the inside you are trying to maintain stabilization by utilizing your core center “powerhouse” muscles– which connect the arms and legs to the torso and stabilize the upper torso to the lower torso. With traditional Yoga techniques, from the outside you might look very still, while on the inside you are trying to create movement and space, and enliven your joints, your muscles, and your mind. But in reality, in both disciplines what you are practicing is control.

How do the breathing techniques of Pilates and Yoga compare?
In both practices the goal is to gain breath control and to coordinate your breath with your movement. With Pilates the initial breath focus would be to stabilize the abdominal wall and expand your chest with an inward, upward and backward inhalation. This enables you to keep your core abdominal muscles engaged, therefore protecting the vulnerable lumber, lower back, region from unsupported movements which can lead to injuries.

Lots of people understand yoga breath as “belly breathing.” This is ideal for a relaxing practice, opening awareness of the pelvis, the pelvic organs, the digestive system, the torso, the heart, the lungs, and other regions. But, your lungs are not in your belly. When you are relaxed, as you inhale the lungs expand and press the diaphragm downward, thus protruding the belly. You can train the abdominal muscles to lift in and up on the inhalation , expanding the chest, lengthening the spine, and finding unexplored depths of the lung capacity. This is how you support yourself – from your center abdominal wall. Once you move into a more fiery and physically challenging style of yoga “belly breathing” will usually evolve into a more supportive breath practice.

How does Pilates compare to GYROTONIC®?
Pilates is described as a more 2-dimensional approach to movement, i.e. up & down, open & close, flex & extend, while GYROTONIC® can be described as more 3-dimensional incorporating spirals and circular movements. Both techniques lengthen the muscles while strengthening the joints with an emphasis on movement fluidity and integration of breath. Each uses specialized equipment to support and guide you towards the desired focus.

What results can I expect from these practices?
Joseph Pilates was fond of saying that “in ten sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body.” In my experience, even after a single session people have responded with feeling stronger, more aligned and attuned, and have experienced varying degrees of pain relief in the lower back and relief of muscle tension in the neck and shoulder areas. Very quickly you will see more definition in the abdominal, triceps, and gluteal regions and a reverse of the trend towards a flabby gut, flapping arms and doughy inner thighs.

Is this considered weight-bearing exercise?
Pilates is based on spring resistance and Gyrotonic® utilizes light weights, so the answer is yes. The bone-building cells are called upon to do their work. It is very effective therapy to prevent or address osteoporosis and related conditions.

Is this considered aerobic exercise?
Practice of Pilates and GYROTONIC® exercise methods will definitely increase your lung capacity by utilizing a much larger percentage of the lungs. We teach you to breathe deep into the lower back lungs beyond the average shallow upper chest breathing of ineffective aerobic activity. Ideally, the advantages of this breathing technique will enhance whatever aerobic activities you enjoy.