10 WAYS YOGAPILATES HEALS YOU
Yoga has been in existence for many thousands of years. The ancient Yogis believed that in order for man to be in harmony with himself and his environment he must integrate mind, body and spirit. Pilates is a system of exercise named after Joseph Pilates, born in 1883 in Germany. As a child he suffered a number of illnesses and was told he would not live long. Through experimenting with yoga, martial arts, gymnastics, dance, circus training & weight training he healed himself and went on to form his own system of exercise – Pilates.
In my own search for healing yoga & Pilates have helped me heal spiritually, mentally and physically. I am blessed to be able to combine my love of Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and Pilates, merging them into my unique YogaPilates class.
What are the healing principles YogaPilates:
1. The Breath
Deep abdominal breathing is the most healing thing we can do for our bodies. To connect to your breath put your hands on your belly and feel the breath going in and out. As you inhale the belly rises and as you exhale the belly falls. Our breathing influences our energy on every level – spiritual, emotional, physical and mental.
2. The Core
Both yoga and Pilates focus on the core, in yoga this is called the bandhas in Pilates this is called core engagement. Both are very similar and we maintain stability in this area while we breathe and practise. To engage your core first engage your pelvic floor muscles as if holding a pee half way through, then gently draw your navel towards your spine. Imagine you have a large belt on with ten notches and you are tightening it all the way to last notch; then release by five notches, breath and release by another two notches so you are engaging at 30% whilst you practise.
3. Mobilising the body
This gives us a chance to assess our body, spot any tensions and get it warmed up and prepared. Mobilising stretches consist of gentle movements to awaken and energise the body.
4. Surya Namaska
Sun salutations are a sequence of movements that get all the muscles of the body ready for the main practise. They give you a lot of power as they give you healing strength in the body; they literally make you glow and give you a great sense of self confidence. I fuse the Hatha Sun Salute for beginners with the more advanced Ashtanga Sun Salutate for more experienced students.
5. Main standing phase
This consists of yoga and Pilates strengthening, balancing and energising postures. The standing asanas (postures) heal the body by building confidence, balance and strength. We link these asanas with Vinyasa to keep the flow and heat in the body.
6. Pilates Core
Pilates works on strengthening the powerhouse of the body (core, hips, lower back and bum) whilst also working the spine and improving posture. I teach a mix of Pilates core; usually 4-5 Pilates exercises performed in succession so that you feel very invigorated and your core is well worked.
7.Yoga Seated Asana
This is a more relaxed phase of the practise which calms the nervous system. By staying in these asanas for between 3-5 minutes we allow our bodies to surrender and work deep into the connective tissue. This allows the body to go much deeper in the healing process.
Our final asana is Savasana – Corpse pose – which gives the body time to absorb the practise and truly heal; we rest in this position for 10-15 minutes and allow the body and mind to be totally still. I then give everyone a gentle neck and shoulder massage and offer an inhalation of calming oil. I love this time to connect with my students.
9.Palming & Gratitude
We then come to seated pose and do some gentle palming of the eyes; you rub hands together until warm and place them over your eyes to self-heal and soothe the eyes. We also say a gratitude mantra as this manifests positivity into our hearts and lives.
I always end a class by chanting the mantra Om/Aum. When you chant this you raise your vibration, open your heart, your lungs and your throat. You allow the universe to heal you.
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