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Yoga Pilates Harmonious duo for body & mind

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Breathe deeply, listen in and train muscles. The combination of yoga and Pilates results in a perfect workout that leads to more body tension and serenity.

The great advantage of yoga is that you can interact with yourself in a very pleasant way. It strengthens the organism and at the same time makes it more relaxed. Pilates is considered one of the most effective ways to get your body into shape without having to bother with dumbbells or sports equipment. The latest trend is now to combine both. But what more can Yoga Pilates do, what yoga alone can not achieve? "Both forms complement and enrich each other, " says Christiane Wolff. She is a Yoga and Pilates teacher and brings together the different methods in her book "YogaPilates" (see interview on page 108). "Pilates adds yoga to the important aspect of physicality. Yoga also gives Pilates a mental dimension, "says the expert. While some forms of yoga are extremely athletic, they pose a risk to overwhelm even the beginner. On the other hand, the combination of meditative yoga techniques with the gentle athleticism of Pilates seems all the more attractive. We will show you four so-called flows on the following pages. These are training units consisting of five exercises each. You need 10 to 15 minutes for each flow. The implementation is very simple. But first some important basics of both techniques.

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Yoga - The Teaching of Harmony and Agility

The Teaching of Harmony and Agility

Yoga has been practiced for millennia. It developed from meditation rituals in India. Monks needed after a period of staying in a fixed position a balance, which made the stiff limbs again movable. That's what yoga does. By stretching and holding it provides suppleness in the joints and freshness in the head. Today's immobility in everyday life connects us with the meditating monks. We spend most of our time sitting. But we still have too rich - and sometimes unhealthy - nutrition. If we are not careful, it can lead to civilization diseases such as diabetes, circulatory disorders or a weakened defense. Yoga can strengthen us. After just a few practice sessions, body, breath and spirit harmonize and the muscles become more flexible.

But yoga is more than just a collection of stretching exercises. Originally, it served clergy as a spiritual path of liberation. The Indian scholar Patanjali (2nd century BC) wrote the classic basic text, to which today almost all yoga styles refer, the "Yoga Sutra". Through the exercises the life energy (Prana) should flow again and the concentration should be promoted. The goal is absolute physical and mental relaxation. The four flows on the next pages make this effect usable for our everyday life, therefore they are suitable for a daily training. The flows are based on hatha yoga, a relatively young method (15th century). She strives for the balance between body and mind. The word Hatha is composed of "ha" and "tha" for sun and moon. Both stand for two energies that each person carries within him: the active and the rational on the one hand, and dreams and emotions on the other. When these powers are balanced, it is the key to well-being, health and happiness.

With each exercise, the body calms down more and more, you find balance and can recharge your batteries. In addition, the body perception is refined and it creates a kind of shield against stress and negative external influences, for example, in the job or from the environment. People who regularly practice yoga, strengthen their nerves and thus gain a positive charisma, which is also perceived by everyone else.

Pilates - Provides strength and posture

Pilates - Provides strength and posture

Pilates encourages one to better understand one's own body and to deal with it more intelligently. The method is a systematic body workout to strengthen the muscles. To successfully implement them, the exercises must be performed precisely. Every movement follows a clearly defined breathing rhythm and should be fluid and supple.

Since Hollywood stars like Madonna, Sharon Stone and Brad Pitt rediscovered Pilates for themselves a few years ago, the training method gained more and more fans worldwide. The basic idea comes from the German Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1883-1967). As a child he was sickly, suffered from asthma and was often physically inferior to his peers. Therefore, he trained so that his weakness soon felt nothing. Later he became a gymnast, diver, professional boxer and worked as a teacher of self-defense at police schools. Crucial to the development of his kinematics, however, was the detention during the First World War in Britain. He trained his injured and weakened inmates. With great success. They recovered faster and were less prone to infection than other prisoners.

After this time, Pilates continued experimenting with a variety of forms of movement and exercise, developing his own system, which he called "contrology" at the time, because the muscles are to be controlled by the mind. Today we just call it Pilates. He recognized the lower back as the most sensitive part of the body. The aim of his method is to strengthen this body center (also called "powerhouse") and to initiate and execute every movement from this energy center. In the 1920s, Pilates emigrated to New York and founded a training studio there. He was joined by dancers and actors who had problems with their joints and intervertebral discs due to their profession.

Since these beginnings, the Pilates methods have hardly changed. Despite the fitness and bodybuilding waves of recent decades, the findings of Pilates and have now been scientifically confirmed. Those who practice according to their principles have at their disposal a control system that can harmonize movements at any time and perfectly align the body. The more one gets involved, the better one is able to respond to small details and physical inconsistencies. With Pilates you can strengthen your body awareness, uncover stressful posture and movement patterns and consciously train against it.

In the flow and rhythm, Pilates often recalls dance choreographies. Movement sequences are fun, and the body gets a more even, symmetrical shape through this form of training. In contrast to other sports, where usually only superficial muscles are trained, Pilates activates and strengthens the underlying abdominal and back muscles. The belly becomes flatter and the waist slimmer. Above all, but also painful back complaints are sustainedly fought. Therefore, some health insurance companies offer Pilates today in their prevention programs.

To prepare: The best practice practice

To prepare: The best practice practice

The best way to create a relaxed atmosphere with candles, some flowers and quiet music.

Since Joseph Pilates has used and developed yoga techniques in some exercises, both methods fit together very well in Yoga Pilates. Most flows begin with more athletic Pilates exercises and end with the so-called asanas, the postures of yoga. The meditative decline follows the gentle and controlled muscle training. In this interaction, they provide a perfect workout that brings body, mind and soul in harmony. After only a few days, you will feel more powerful, upright and generally more comfortable. In order to be able to implement the flows independently and simply, you should note the following.

What do you need for the flows?
You do not need much to practice Yoga and Pilates. A non-slip surface is useful, even in the apartment. It's best to use special yoga mats or other thin exercise mats that you can buy at any sports store. For the meditation seat and some other exercises you will need one or two pillows. Wear comfortable clothing that does not narrow. If you're feeling cold, wear warm socks and a blanket for relaxation exercises.

Where do you train best?
Both methods can be practiced almost anywhere: at home, outdoors or in the gym. The environment should not be too hectic and loud. Put the documents aside in the office, switch off the TV in the living room and light a few candles or find a quiet spot for your mat in a park.

How often and intensively do you have to practice?
How often you exercise is entirely up to you. The more regular, the clearer the positive effect becomes. In the beginning, however, one to two exercises per week are enough. The four exercise flows designed especially for the morning, for evening relaxation, for the back and the abdomen are ideal for starting the Yoga Pilates program.

To start: take a deep breath

To start: take a deep breath

The yoga yamas

In addition to the exercises, the so-called asanas, the yamas are also crucial in yoga. Yamas are the basic attitude to life and practice practice. These are the three most important ones:

AHIMSA
Nonviolence is the top priority. This concerns dealing with others and with oneself, even during the exercises. Do not force yourself into positions that are not yet pleasant.

SATYA
Be honest, be honest. A discomfort in the exercises you should not ignore, but accept value. Some exercises can only be learned later.

Brahmacharya
Do not exaggerate. Extreme weaken mind and body. Also with the Yoga exercises one should find the right measure: not too ambitious, but also not too lax.

Our breath gives our life its rhythm, with effort we need a lot of oxygen, with rest less. This principle is also used by the training methods Yoga and Pilates to structure the exercises. Both methods use different techniques. In yoga, the breathing is concentrated inwards, which helps to better explore the body and to give it rest. In Pilates, the breath should also release forces. With the flows, both breathing techniques come together and do not contradict each other. The Pilates exercises need more powerful breathing to activate the deeper muscles. The yoga exercises join in, and the breath calms and relaxes the body again.

The Yoga Breathing: Inside

The Yoga Breathing: Inside

Yoga teaches you to closely observe your breathing. With each breath, one tries to consciously sense where the oxygen is flowing, exploring his body. Simple breathing exercises, called Pranayamas according to the Indian teachings, help with this. You can use them as small concentration exercises, for example in the office. Here is a selection:

Abdominal breathing (for everyday use): When inhaling, stretch your stomach slightly, and exhale it again. Breathing in and out takes the same amount of time (about 3 to 4 seconds).

Complete yoga breathing (during physical exertion): As you breathe in, stretch out your stomach, while exhaling, pull in your chest and stomach. Important: The movements should be fluent. Exhaling takes twice as long as inhaling.

Relaxing pranayama (standing, sitting, lying down): First inhale for four seconds, hold the air for four seconds, exhale for eight seconds, and hold the air empty-handed for four seconds.

The Pilates Breathing: Outward

The Pilates Breathing: Outward

Breaths as a common thread of all exercises: Exhaling through the mouth is the focus because it activates the muscles of the body center, improves the quality of movement and deacidified. In order to harmonize breathing and movement in each phase of the training, concentration is required. Therefore always direct your senses to the current movement so that it becomes the center of your thoughts.

And this is how it works: Your neck and shoulders should be completely relaxed. The air should never be stopped. The oxygen must be inhaled evenly through the nose into the chest. The exhalation through the mouth is followed without pause by the inhalation. The inhalation and exhalation phases should be kept the same length (about 5 seconds).

Test yourself: lift your arms over your head and breathe in evenly. If you lower your arms again, hold the air as long as possible without exhaling. It creates a tension in the neck and shoulders, which you should avoid in Pilates. The difference is that if you exhale evenly as you lower your arms in the same exercise, your shoulders and neck are much more relaxed.

YOGA PILATES: THE INNER AND OUTER BALANCE

Yoga Pilates: The inner and outer balance

YOGA: SAMASTHITI

• Stand straight, legs hip-width apart, feet parallel, spine upwards.
• Feel the points on the feet that are connected to the floor and your spine from the pelvis to the head.

Posture in Yoga and Pilates

In both methods the basic attitudes play a decisive role. In yoga, one focuses on the standing or sitting position, with which some flows are started or completed. The focus is on an inner balance. In the case of Pilates, one seeks the core of the body, the energy center, ie the back, pelvis and abdomen. For most flows, you lie on your back.

YOGA: NADA PASYANTI

• Close eyes in the meditation seat.
• Think of a radiant light slowly rising from the base of your spine as you inhale "Om".
• When exhaling with "Ah", the light spreads.

PILATES: PLAY WITH THE BASIN, PART 1

• Lie on your back, place your legs hip-width, your sternum sinks. Feel the lower ribs stretch towards the pelvis. Concentrate on your pelvis.
• Lower all the weight of your pelvis to the mat.
• Then exhale, the abdominal wall should now lower in the direction of the spine and the lower back gently pressed against the mat floor.
• Stay in this position for a few seconds, then release.

PILATES: PLAY WITH THE BASIN, PART 2

• Inhale and push the pelvis a little forward, creating a slight hollow back.
• Move the pelvis and lower back up and down several times.
• Finally, you should settle into a middle pelvic position. This position is the basis for a relaxed attitude in all Pilates exercises. From the center of the body ("Powerhouse") go out all further movements and breathing impulses.

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