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Unveiling the Power of Pilates: A Perfect Complement to Your Yoga Practice

Are you curious about Pilates? Wondering how it can transform your fitness routine and enhance your yoga practice? Let’s dive into the world of Pilates, explore its effectiveness as a form of exercise, and discover how it seamlessly complements your yoga journey.

What is Pilates?

Pilates, developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, is a comprehensive mind-body exercise system designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, balance, and overall well-being. It’s not just a workout; it’s a holistic approach to wellness. Pilates exercises focus on core strength, breathing, and controlled movements, emphasizing precision and control.

Why is Pilates an Effective Form of Exercise?

  1. Full-Body Engagement: Pilates is renowned for engaging all muscle groups, making it a full-body workout. It targets not only the superficial muscles but also the deep stabilizing muscles, promoting overall strength and flexibility.
  2. Core Strength: Pilates places a significant emphasis on core strength and stability. A strong core is the foundation for better posture, balance, and injury prevention.
  3. Flexibility: Through a series of controlled movements and stretches, Pilates enhances flexibility, helping to improve your range of motion and reduce the risk of muscle tightness.
  4. Mind-Body Connection: Pilates promotes a deep mind-body connection. It encourages focus, concentration, and awareness of body alignment, fostering mental clarity and stress relief.
  5. Low Impact: Pilates is a low-impact exercise, making it accessible to people of all fitness levels, including those with joint issues or injuries.

How Can Pilates Complement Your Yoga Practice?

Pilates and yoga share some fundamental principles, which is why they make such a dynamic duo:

  1. Core Strength: Both disciplines prioritize core strength. A strong core is essential for stability in yoga poses and Pilates exercises.
  2. Breath Awareness: Pilates and yoga both emphasize mindful breathing. The controlled breathing in Pilates complements the pranayama techniques in yoga, enhancing respiratory capacity and oxygen circulation.
  3. Flexibility: Yoga focuses on flexibility, while Pilates improves it through controlled stretching and dynamic movements. Together, they can help you achieve a harmonious balance of strength and suppleness.
  4. Mind-Body Connection: Both practices cultivate a deep mind-body connection, promoting a sense of calm, focus, and relaxation.
  5. Injury Prevention: Pilates can help strengthen the muscles around vulnerable areas, reducing the risk of injuries, which can be particularly beneficial if you engage in challenging yoga poses.

By incorporating Pilates into your fitness routine, you’ll find a perfect companion for your yoga practice. The balance between the two can lead to a stronger, more flexible, and harmonious you, both physically and mentally. Whether you’re an experienced yogi or just starting your wellness journey, Pilates offers a path to total well-being that’s worth exploring.

 

October 31st, 2023

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Mysore Yoga Practice

Tips on How To Establish a Regular, Dedicated Mysore Ashtanga Practice

by Svitlana Nalywayko, Breathe Co-Owner and Mysore Teacher

If you’re like so many Ashtanga/Mysore practitioners who understand the massive rewards that a daily practice brings, yet sometimes face mental roadblocks to getting onto our mat every day, join the club.

Let’s be honest.

The practice asks a lot from us. It demands that we drag ourselves out of bed at ungodly hours, show up to class, and then contort our bodies in all sorts of directions that may not always feel cooperative. It insists we keep our focus on our breath and drishti, not allowing our minds to wander. And then, it requests that we do it all over again the next day, and the next, and the next.

If you find it challenging to make it to class as often as you’d like, I’d like to share 10 tips that have not only worked for me on my own daily practice journey, but have also helped many of my students over the years:

Mysore and Ashtanga Yoga Toronto

10 Tips to Maintain a Regular Yoga Practice

  1. Set Realistic Goals: Instead of aiming for daily practice right away, start with a more manageable schedule, come to class  2-3 times a week. Gradually increase the frequency when you feel ready.
  2. Join a Mysore Community – practising with a teacher and a community of students is not only motivating and inspiring but fun.  A Mysore community is welcoming and non-judgemental and you can expect to make lasting friendships as you bond together during early Monring practice when the rest of the world is still sleeping.
  3. Prioritise Your Practice: Treat your yoga class as a non-negotiable appointment. Block off the time in your calendar and let others know about your commitment.
  4. Book Your Spot in all of your Classes at the start of the week! Make it a habit to sign yourself in to all your classes for the week by Sunday. Psychologically this makes a huge difference as you mentally commit to class.
  5. Struggling to Get out of Bed? Use the ‘Get Just One Foot on the Floor’ trick. Once the alarm clock goes off, tell yourself that all you have to do is get one foot on the floor. The rest is easy.
  6. Flexibility: If you can’t make it to a class, consider practicing at home or even doing a shorter session. Something is always better than nothing. AND REMEMBER – getting on your mat even for 5 sun salutations counts as a practice! And chances are very,very good once you commit to 5 Sun Sals, you’ll be on your way.
  7. Find an Accountability Partner: Partnering with a friend or fellow yogi can help keep you motivated and accountable. For years I told myself I wasn’t a morning person and that Mysore couldn’t possibly be an option for me. My back was cranky in the morning and an afternoon or evening vinyasa practice was what my body demanded. Then a fellow yoga teacher challenged me to a month of Mysore. I not only took the challenge on but was the designated driver in the middle of winter and had to pick her up 5:30am. Not leaving her stranded on a cold, dark Toronto street corner at 5:30 was what initially got my butt out of bed.
  8. Mindful Reflection: Take a moment every single day to reflect on how you feel after practice. Remember the sense of accomplishment, the greater mental alertness, how you’re standing taller and stronger and the overall sense of well-being it brings.
  9. Be Kind to Yourself: Yoga is not about perfection. If you miss a class, do your very best to avoid self-criticism. Every day is a new opportunity to practice.
  10. Jump higher and land stronger. The right Yoga Mat Matters. If you’re practising on a mat that you hate, or that is not entirely your own, please consider investing in a good mat. That’s your very own. That you don’t share. It’s your sweat and sometimes, tears that land on it so your yoga mat becomes your personal companion. Rolling it out on the floor at the beginning of pratice and cleaning it at the end of practice is part of the practice ritual. You’ll notice that a popular mat amongst regular practitioners is the Manduka Pro. Why ? Because its solid, slip resistant (over time with use) and it’s indestructible (comes with a lifetime warranty) Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Definitively – so much so that it is the most recommended mat by yoga teachers worldwide (and its available in our new yoga boutique.)

Join Breathe Yoga’s Mysore Community – a welcoming and fun community of avid practitioners. If you’re new to Mysore, sign up for our 5 class Beginner package and you’ll be on your way. Sign up here. We look forward to meeting you!

 

October 11th, 2023

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