I work in the fitness industry, and so I often hear students repeat common misconceptions about Pilates. Even my colleagues in fitness and personal training don’t seem to realize the differences. Well, today I would like to serve up some insight to dispel these myths!
Common Myth #1: Pilates and Yoga are the same thing or are related. They are not the same thing, and Yoga and Pilates instructors alike cringe when people use the two as if they are interchangeable. Here are three of the major differences – they mostly involve intent in producing an effect.
Breathing is integral to both, however the pattern and execution are different. Yoga utilizes belly breathing through the nose. Pilates utilizes diaphragmatic breathing, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth in order to help connect more deeply to the core
In Pilates, there is a dynamic element of movement, and fully extending the limbs is intended to emanate from the body’s center – your core. Whereas in yoga the intention is in the placement of limbs and torso in a pose, and then to focus on deepening the pose.
Pilates encompasses a full system of repertoire that includes multiple pieces of equipment (like the reformer and the chair), in addition to the Mat work. Mat exercises are primarily performed on the floor, lying down on your back, side or front. The movements from these positions challenge the core against the pull of gravity. In Yoga, most poses are done standing.
Because of these differences Pilates and yoga really do complement one another.
Common Myth #2: Pilates is just for women.
It is true that Pilates is very popular with women, but there is nothing about Pilates that makes it more for women than for men. Pilates has never been "just for women" and its benefits are certainly not gender-biased. Joseph Pilates, the creator of the method in fact originally began his work with men.
The method requires a movement discipline and precision. That, coupled with the focus on alignment and strength attracted dancers and former dancers to become Certified Pilates Teachers. More women teachers have perhaps made Pilates more attractive to women students. So both factors have contributed to the false idea that Pilates is only directed toward a female audience.
The Pilates method has become well established in fitness and is practiced by athletes and celebrities such as Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Tiger Woods. They use Pilates as cross-training to maintain core strength, flexibility and function.
Common Myth #3: Pilates is for people who are in shape.
While Pilates is not the ticket to weight loss, it is a highly effective non-impact form of core training. If you are just starting into a program, seriously, one of greatest things you can do for yourself is to start with Pilates. That’s because it teaches proper activation of what we call the “inner” core; gives attention to centering, and awareness of alignment. This is a hugely beneficial foundation to take with you into your other workouts. Many a client has come to me after jumpstarting their fitness regimen from ground zero and has suffered an injury due to poor alignment in their execution.
A goal I share with all my clients – group and privates alike, is for you to use take what you execute in class and use it outside of the session into your everyday movement.
The adaptability of the Pilates method to different levels of fitness and body types has made Pilates an accessible and effective fitness choice for most everyone. Excellent as a cross-training method, it likewise is recognized by the medical community to facilitate healing and protect from injury.
So, there you go – myths officially ‘busted’!
Eager to learn more on how to get started with Pilates? We’ll help you choose the program that fits your needs and goals.
See you in the studio!