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What is the Difference Between Yoga and Pilates?

Wondering what the major differences are between Yoga and Pilates? Consider these ideas when deciding what to add to your fitness regimen.

Yoga is a physical, spiritual, and mental practice that comes from ancient India. It is derived from the Hindu religion. There are many different well respected yoga schools. Some focus more on the physical poses while others focus on meditation and strengthening the mind and breath. Yoga is known for promoting a calm state of mind, it’s a great stress reliever. The poses can be a great way to lengthen and tone the entire body.

 

Pilates is a repertoire of movements created by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s which he referred to as “Contrology.” The original six principles were concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing. Many of the movements focus on core (abdominal, pelvic floor, and back) strength. This is why Pilates is great for those who suffer with low back pain. Pilates designed equipment that enhance the movements using tension springs and pulleys. In an hour session every part of the body is targeted efficiently. With the extra “push”’ that the equipment provides you will see the physical changes in about 10-20 sessions. Your body will firm and lengthen in ways you may least expect.


Both Yoga and Pilates have a lot to offer. Try different classes and see what works for you. We offer Pilates equipment classes at Brickell Pilates. Come check it out. 175 SW 7th St. 2201 Miami, FL 33130, in the heart of the Brickell area.

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Why Do We Need Strong Pelvic Floor Muscles?

Exercise: bridging with the foam roller and the magic circle.

Exercise: bridging with the foam roller and the magic circle.

“Lift the pelvic floor while scooping the abdominals in and up.” This is a cue you’ve probably heard if you’ve ever tried Pilates. If you engage both the pelvic floor and the abdominals, you instantly appear longer through the torso, your movement feels strong and your balance is increased.

 

Since these muscles at the base of the pelvis are not seen unless you search for a diagram on Google, it can be hard to know if you are engaging them correctly, or at all. One visual cue that often helps, is to imagine gathering and lifting the two sitting bones and the pubic bone. Picture these three points as the base of triangular prism, now lift these muscles up to the very tip of this three dimensional triangle. This action should happen in almost every Pilates exercise. Pilates whether on the mat or on the reformer incorporates the whole body with emphasis on the deep abdominals, pelvic floor, and back muscles.

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Why do we need to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles?

 

In women, the pelvic floor is the muscles, ligaments, connective tissues and nerves that support the bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum and help these pelvic organs function. Childbirth, chronic coughing, aging, and inactivity are among the common causes of weakened or damaged pelvic floor muscles. Almost one-quarter of women face pelvic floor disorders, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study found that pelvic floor disorders affect about 10 percent of women ages 20 to 39, 27 percent of women ages 40 to 59, 37 percent of women ages 60 to 79 and nearly half of women age 80 or older. Once weakened, the pelvic floor can lead to problems like incontinence, diminished sexual enjoyment, and in severe cases, a dropping of the organs into the pelvic muscles known as Prolapse.

 

Do men have pelvic floor muscles too? Yes. In men, the pelvic floor includes the muscles, tissues and nerves that support the bladder, rectum and other pelvic organs.

 

Bottom line - do Pilates regularly - strengthen your pelvic floor and the rest of your body while you're at it! Try a private or duet at Brickell Pilates. 175 SW 7th St. #2201 Miami, FL 33130.

 

Sources:

http://www.uchospitals.edu/specialties/pelvic/faq/pelvic-floor-disorders.html

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How to Know if Your Spine is in a "Neutral" Position?

3D model of healthy spine

3D model of healthy spine

If you've taken Pilates before (either on the mat or on the reformer) then you have most likely heard the teacher refer to "maintaining a neutral spine" or "placing your pelvis in a neutral position." We will examine what this means and learn how to self-check your alignment.

 The spine consists of three natural curves. It's easiest to see laying in a supine position with bent knees.

In this position ideally there is space under the back of the neck (cervical curve) and an even smaller space under the lower back (lumbar curve.) The three points that remain anchored into the mat are the back of the head, the back of the ribs, and the sacrum/coccyx (tail-bone.)

An easy way to check if you are in good alignment is to position yourself so that you can see your side line in a mirror. This way you will see immediately if there is light coming through where the natural curves lift away from the floor.

A neutral pelvis is perfectly flat across the top while laying in the same supine position. To quickly check, place your hands in a small "V"  encompassing both the prominent hip bones on each side of the pelvis (ASIS) and the pubic bone. Your hands should be flat as if you are balancing a full bowl of water on them.

Another test for a neutral pelvis is to lay supine and place the legs in a "table-top" position. In table-top the knees are aligned over the hips and the shins are parallel to the floor forming a 90 degree angle.

Keeping these anatomically correct postures in mind while practicing Pilates will make you appear taller, and help keep you free of back and shoulder pain. One of the many benefits of incorporating the Pilates reformer into your regimen is that the machine itself guides the body into these correct postures.

Come visit us at Brickell Pilates where you can refine your Pilates practice on the mat and on the reformer. We are conveniently located in the heart of Brickell at 175 SW 7th Street. 2201 Miami, FL 33130.

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