By Jo Ann Graser
"Pilates? That's Like Yoga, Right?"
As a business owner who offers both Pilates and yoga at my studio, I run into this question on a regular basis. My answer can be detailed or basic, depending on my audience. Here are some comparison points about the two disciplines based on my personal experience with both. For the purposes of this discussion, I am comparing yoga to Pilates on the apparatus.
• Yoga was developed over 5,000 years ago in India with the purpose of connecting individual consciousness to a universal consciousness creating spiritual enlightenment. Poses or “asanas” combined with breath control and meditation improve the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health of the practitioner.
• Joseph Pilates began development of his regimen (historically called “Corrective Exercise” and then “Contrology”) approximately 100 years ago. The underlying theme of Pilates is a systematic and disciplined approach to physical movement through focus and clarity of the mind. Joseph Pilates created apparatuses which could support the body in order to correct dysfunction and improve movement.
• Yoga utilizes mats and small props to aid or support the practitioner.
• Pilates has an extensive array of machines, or “apparatuses,” designed to assist the individual in improving alignment, strength and coordination.
• In my experience, yoga poses are typically held for extended time periods to release
muscle tension. In some styles of yoga, a long series of poses is repeated
sequentially, with the purpose of warming the body to allow for increased range of
• Pilates movements are often guided by the apparatus, which can be configured by
the teacher to provide assistance or resistance for the client. The focus in a Pilates
session is often on a relatively short piece of choreography emphasizing control and
precision. A movement is focused on and repeated for a few repetitions before
moving onto the next exercise.
Mind Body Connection
• In many types of yoga, the session starts with the setting of an intention for the
practice and ends with a guided meditation and relaxation or “savasana.” Goals are
to clear the mind and surrender to the movement.
• In Pilates, there is constant attention on posture, alignment and movement
mechanics. The practitioner is encouraged to focus on each movement, staying
present and intentional. The theme of controlling the body with the mind is ever present.
• Yoga teaches breathing in and out through the nose or a “warming breath.” This type of breathing is designed to relax the body and calm the mind. Focus in yoga is on
“belly breathing.” The classes I take often use the breath as a mechanism to time
each pose for example: "Hold this pose for another 4 breaths.”
• Pilates teaches breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. This type
of breath is considered “diaphragmatic” and is meant to energize and prepare the
body for strong engagement. The practitioner is encouraged to “move with the tempo
of the breath,” coordinating the two.
• Yoga emphasizes the mind-body and spiritual connection, quieting the mind by
focusing on mastery through introspection. Flexibility and strength are improved
through repetition of the asanas.
• Pilates follows a systematic approach, focusing on individual movements as they
integrate with the whole. The intended outcome from Pilates is improved posture
and creating a strong, balanced and stable base from which to move.
by Jo Ann Graser
We all find ourselves existing in a world turned upside down. Emphasis on “world.” We are not alone by a long stretch. Every person on this planet has been or will be affected by Covid-19. Big picture, the loss of life and serious illness everywhere is overwhelming. However, right here in our homes we are waging a battle to keep entropy at bay. Entropy is defined as: "lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder and chaos.”
“Shelter in place” was terminology that was not part of my lexicon and while the term “shelter” is
somewhat comforting, we find ourselves forced into new routines and an abundance of uncertainty. For me, that first week of shelter in place was terrifying and filled with “what ifs.” What if my business fails? What if my industry ceases to be viable? What if my family/staff/clients/friends get sick? I found myself scrambling and working on sheer adrenaline to pivot my business and take care of my clients and staff.
Self-care was not high on my list of priorities, but I did make time each day to move, sweat and work off some of the nervous tension. These questions formed a loop in my head each morning: How do we cope? How do we move forward while staying in one place? How do we break the stressful emotional cycle of anger, fear, loneliness, and separation? I made it my mission to keep those in my circle of influence moving and motivated.
Let us talk physiology for a moment. When we are stressed, our cortisol levels rise. Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. When released into the bloodstream, cortisol can act on many different parts of the body and can help your body respond to stress or danger. This heightened stress response is important for managing short-term situations. When cortisol is present over the long term it can lead to symptoms such as headache, dry mouth, gastrointestinal problems, heart palpitations, unusual sweating, loss of libido, overeating/undereating, and anxiety symptoms. Over time, heightened cortisol levels can lead to our health being compromised through immune system suppression, cardiac problems, depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, etc.
One of the best ways to cope with elevated stress is to GET MOVING. As the body warms, the heart rate increases and breathing becomes deeper. Endorphin levels rise. Endorphins are a group of hormones produced in the pituitary gland and their secretion leads to decreased pain, feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response.
With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and suffer fewer negative effects of stress. Our bodies
produce endorphins in response to prolonged, continuous exercise. Our health clubs and studios are shuttered, some communities are closing hiking trails. How do we continue our workout routines within this new reality? I find it ironic that the technology that until recently was blamed for increasing levels of inactivity is now the best place to find all kinds of workout options, classes and motivation! It is indeed a new virtual reality.
When Tensile Strength Studio and Barrington Yoga Loft was deemed non-essential and ordered to close, we immediately began creating a “Virtual Studio.” We have managed to put almost all our
programming into this virtual studio. You will find Pilates, Yoga, Barre and Fitness with all your favorite instructors. Comments from participants are overwhelmingly positive and some even have requested that we continue to offer virtual options after we re-open! This is an opportunity to “try” a new workout modality literally from the comfort of your own home.
This is our reality for the time being. My hope for you is that you embrace the new normal and figure out ways to re-capture all those activities you “used to do” pre lockdown. Your immune system will thank you and imagine how good it will feel to emerge from quarantine stronger, healthier and happier than when you went in.
By Tensile Strength Studio & Barrington Yoga Loft Staff
So you've decided to take a virtual class through Tensile Strength Studio & Barrington Yoga Loft! We're so excited to share our love of Pilatetes, Yoga and Fitness with you, wherever you choose to practice!
We've developed an extremely user friendly program that our clients are having great success with! You may access our virtual classes from virtually anywhere in the world, as long as you have a good wi-fi connection! Read on for our procedures and tips for success with virtual classes
Signing up for a Class:
Schedule your class on the MindBody Schedule like you typically would, all class packages remain the same and can be used interchangeably for both Virtual and Regular/In Studio classes. In the event of class cancellations or time changes, you will be notified via the email we have on file. All virtual classes will be labeled “Virtual” in the MindBody schedule and will be done outside the studio at a location of your choice.
Class sign-ups are cut off promptly 45 minutes before class. There will be no exceptions because the instructor needs time to make sure that links are sent out to all clients prior to the class start time. Additionally, the 12 hour cancellation policy applies to all Virtual classes. All virtual classes will be recorded and available by request for a period of 24 hours.
Signing up for a Private Session:
Virtual Private session packages are interchangeable with in studio sessions. The Private sessions are scheduled directly between you and your instructor at mutually available times.
Joining a Meeting/Class (Here’s a YouTube video on how to Join a Meeting ) You will receive an email with a link to the meeting/class approximately 30 minutes prior to class start. If you have not received a link, you may reach out directly to:
Virtual Class Tips for Success :
Pilates props & accessories - Optional :
Yoga props & accessories - Optional :
What if I get kicked off? Picture is pixelating? Screen freezes?