yogalife – march 2014 – unleash your inner animal
With many poses inspired by the grace of animals, Pilates and yoga offer a powerful way to reconnect with your body and rediscover how to move with ease.
Despite their different names the Pilates Swan and yoga Cobra are the same exercise. Increase the stretch by straightening your arms.
At the heart of both Pilates and yoga is fundamental relationship they share with the animal world and we find a number of poses inspired by animal movements.
Pilates in particular relates to how the body functions and how we can improve its functionality and strength through the use of stretching and exercise. when animals move, they do so with grace, fluidity and balance, and this was something Joseph Pilates recognized early on his study of anatomy. The way animals breathe also sets them apart from humans and provides the inspiration for Pilates breathing: inhaling when extending the spine and exhaling when bending the spine. the breath is controlled and focused, keeping the subject intuitively centred.
The ancient yogis and gurus were equally impressed by the physical prowess of animals and their ability to move effortlessly through nature. the Sanskrit word for yoga pose is asana meaning ‘a comfortable or effortless position’. In Pilates we often talk about the quality of floating and suspending yourself. With both, the aim is for the body to become better equipped to handle itself in the world at large and to move smarter not harder in order to calm the mind.
Some of the most popular animal inspired movements are:
- Downward-facing dog in yoga
- The Swan in Pilates/Cobra in yoga
- The Monkey in Pilates
- The Pigeon in yoga
- The Seal in Pilates
- The Eagle in yoga
- The Crab in Pilates