Most of us have precious little time to dedicate to our health. When we manage to steal just a few hours each week to do just that you want to make the most of it. Having to deal with big health issues like stress and jobs that entail little physical exercise (no, going to get a coffee doesn’t count), the hunt is on for health and fitness options that are not too complicated or expensive and treat you like a whole person, not just a bunch of bones, muscles and tendons.
It makes sense to use those hours on a more holistic approach to your health regimes and why we are looking to practices such as Yoga and Pilates more.
What is the difference?
Trying to compare the Yoga and Pilates does not do either of them justice. Whilst they might seem similar to you on the mat, the ideas behind them are quite different.
Traditional Yoga uses asanas (all those wonderful postures) and movement as the physical part (or limb) of a greater self-regulating system that includes meditation, focused concentration and breathing techniques with an outlook on life to bring health and happiness. It is a practice to bring the mind, body and spirit into a sense of balance, working towards the same goal – YOUR wellbeing.
I would like to take a moment of your time here to dispel a common myth or misunderstanding about yoga. It is not a religion, merely a way of life that follows a set of policies and procedures. P&P’s keep businesses running smoothly and effectively, just as the P&P for Yoga (Eight Limbs) can help us be more balanced and happier.
Yoga is a tool to bring health to all aspects of your life and looks at your body not merely as moving parts, but as a whole being to build strength and flexibility. Some yoga is slow and restorative, holding postures with focus on the breath, other styles are flowing and gentle using movement, others dynamic, powerful (and even sweaty).
Pilates is the baby brother of yoga (just 100 years young), developed using the traditional yoga theory and mind body connections for our more modern approach to health. A more mainstream adaptation of yoga, Pilates a series of exercises that focuses on your body’s core muscles. These include the abdomen, obliques, lower back, and glutes. The exercises are designed to improve your strength, flexibility and exercise your mind by pairing the movement with breath control.
But what does this mean to you?
Whilst many styles of yoga use props to help people work their way into the more complicated postures, the big stand-out difference is that in addition the mat work, Pilates classes may also involve the use of various machines to help you focus in the moves.
So, what is Remedial Yoga?
Japanese Remedial Yoga Therapy works with the body’s natural energy systems. It acts as a therapy to rebalance the body by strengthening weaknesses and relieving overstressed and overworked muscles and joints.
By working with the body’s innate ability to heal itself, it allows you to explore yoga through meridians of the body (just like in acupuncture), to not only improve your yoga, but balance your body as well.
Remedial Yoga Therapy has taken all the things that yoga has learnt over the centuries with a modern, no-nonsense approach to a helping people achieve their health and fitness goals. Backed by centuries of healing medicine such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, this oriental (Japanese) form of yoga taps into your body’s innate ability to heal itself (qi or energy meridians).
The nature of this yoga to be appropriate to the season, the weather, even the time of day so that you and yoga body get what is needed. It also utilises dynamic meditation techniques – good news for people who have trouble with more traditional meditations.
A remedial yoga teacher is trained to help people make conscious movements or positional changes in their body, also known as proprioception or kinaesthesia, to find the areas of weakness and build energy and strength there. In turn, this will help balance the way the body moves and functions to relieve stress, pain and tension in areas that are overworked.
Remedial Yoga teaches us to be independent, not relying on others to be balanced, health and happy.
Lisa Masters, Genevieve Paton and Lyn Keogh are the founders of the College of Yoga Therapy, one of just two government accredited yoga schools in NSW and the only one for Remedial Yoga Therapy.