The Pilates core-strengthening exercises can invigorate the yoga practice.
By focusing on targeted movements that develop core strength, Pilates
can help yogis build a stable centre, lengthen the side body, increase awareness of alignment.
It can help yogis get stronger, avoid injury, and sometimes advance into poses that they hadn’t previously felt were possible.
The core, also called the Powerhouse, is the body’s centre of gravity; it is composed of the muscles of the lower abdomen, lower back, buttocks,
and pelvic floor.
How to locate your Powerhouse: Stand with one hand on your lower abdomen and the other on your lower back. Inhale deeply through your nose and then exhale through your mouth while pulling the lower abdominals up and into the spine, simultaneously drawing your pelvic floor muscles up and squeezing the base of your buttocks together.
The aim is to engage and strengthen the transversus abdominis (the deepest layer of abs that wrap around the torso horizontally), the obliques, the lower back muscles, and the pelvic floor during complex movements. By doing so, you develop a strong, corset-like support system that protects your back from injury.
In Pilates breathing, unlike in yogic pranayama, students exhale through the mouth and aim to attain a “scooped,” or flattened, abdominal wall on the exhalation. Exhaling through your mouth will make you engage your pelvic floor and thus it will assist you in Mula Bandha.
After experiencing the emphasis on precise, controlled movement and core strength, you may find that a simple Tadasana becomes an opportunity to explore your newfound corset of muscles, or that a Handstand becomes a vehicle in which to engage the obliques and obtain balance.