Yoga Pilates

Are you finding that yoga is everything you thought it was? Are you discovering that yoga gives you an unparalleled series of benefits that range from physical well being to psychic comfort, anti-aging to ongoing peace of mind? That’s wonderful. Keep it up! But spread your awareness to a number of alternative programs and movements for exercise and consciousness that, like yoga, can help you in all kinds of important ways. Don’t give up yoga, but take a look at the alternatives that provide slightly different ways to help you reach many of your “yogic” goals. Here are a few to consider.

Pilates

“The world is in turmoil. The outcome is unknown. More than ever, we have to be in a perfect state of body and mind to confront the problems that lie ahead.” Joseph Pilates, founder of the program that bears his name, said this in 1939. Pilates is a system of movements and exercises that build bones and muscles, balance muscular force and strengthen joints. It stimulates circulation through enhanced flexibility and helps to rehabilitate spinal problems by aligning and decompressing vertebrae. As such, it also might help in easing nerve and disk pressure.

A key element of Pilates is “core work” where emphasis is placed on strengthening the abdominals or core.

Feldenkrais

Feldenkrais is a methodology developed to enhance human functioning by promoting and improving human movement. The means is gentle movement and direct attention, allowing you to improve movement and function.

Feldenkrais is based on physics, biochemistry and an empirical understanding of human development. Practitioners claim that Feldenkrais helps them regain lost abilities and to move without pain or effort.

Gyrotonics

A relatively new form of movement and body conditioning, gyrotonics is moving into the mainstream from its beginnings in the world of dance. It employs a mechanical device that creates a series of undulating spiral and circulatory movements-all to increase muscular strength, endurance, range of motion, coordination and balance. It can be gentle and restorative or as vigorous as aerobics.

Tai Chi Chuan

Derived from the Chinese characters that translate as “Supreme Ultimate Force” this discipline combines subtle movement with concentration-a moving meditation. With roots firmly planted in martial arts, Tai Chi, as it is most commonly known, has movements that are slow and deliberate yet filled with lightness and grace. If you visit any park in Hong Kong or mainland China you will see people of all ages practicing Tai Chi in meditative silence.

Yoga is not the only discipline you can choose for a combination of physical and spiritual benefits. You’re perfectly free to explore other alternatives and, like many, find a combination approach (i.e., yoga and Pilates) that works best for achieving your goals.