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The Yogalates Misperception


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Many people ask me, "Are you going to Yogalates?"


:o I just say, "no."


The scientific work of Joseph Pilates is a subject unto itself, as is that of the Yogi Masters. Since Yoga was handed down by Sanskrit, the eldest language, Pilates had the opportunity to connect his work to Yoga had he seen the relationship. He might have preferred it be called "Pilatesoga."


I have taken Pilates classes with modern day certified Pilates Instructors who mention Joseph Pilates but have no idea that Joseph Pilates conceived the therapeutic strengthening/lengthening routine to rehabilitate injured dancers, and for injury prevention. That is "Pilates."


Hatha Yoga was conceived with no consideration of the anatomical goals of a ballet dancer. "Yoga" means "Union" (with the Divine). It is not an exercise or therapeutic routine, but a system of self-purification for purposes of spiritual perfection. It includes not only asana, or the poses, but fasting, performance of cleansing routines (krias), praying, meditating, diet restrictions, a life of service and a code of ethics.


In either pursuit, fitness center marketing has completely corrupted the practice and theory, often times offering instructors who have had a weekend or so in training for this irrelevantly hybridized activity. :D

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Mrs. Manners,


With all do respect, to say yoga is not "an exercise but only an irrelevant hybridized activity" shows a lack of understanding of the many different yoga classes offered. You have clearly not been to my class, or I’m sure your opinion would be different.


The form of yoga I’m most familiar with is Vanyasa-style. My class is in a heated, climate controlled room which is set at approximately 85 degrees. The hour long classes are physically demanding, dynamic and challenging. They focuses on core strength, balance, and have an obvious emphasis on graceful movement between poses. (All also key in ballet) It has been proved yoga detoxifies your body, strengthens your muscles, and I can tell you from personal experience, it wears you out! Yoga, when performed correctly systematically works the entire body, concentrating on the essence of every organ, bone, joint, muscle, ligament, tendon, blood vessel, nerve and gland. Incorporating strength, balance, and flexibility throughout ones practice.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some obsessed go to yoga, chanting, vegetarian. (Not that there is anything wrong with that... just not my thing) I simply go once a week (mainly since it is all I can afford financially and time wise) and I’m always glad I did. I did my research, hunted for a teacher and studio I liked, and checked with my doctor on anything I should be watchful of (since I’m pregnant :D )


Many of the people at my adult ballet class also attend yoga once or twice a week. It is rejuvenating and absolutely assists your muscles for the flexibility and strength necessary to succeed in ballet as a beginning adult. Not to mention it is also recommended by Doctors for people who are recovering from an injury.


Just a side not, Self Magazine wrote the following quote about the Vanyasa-style yoga done at the studio I take classes through: "This yoga torches calories." Oh so true!!

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Mrs. Manners,


Unless you are a Tibetan Buddhist monk, particularly in the Kagyu lineages (I have taken refuge in Drikung Kagyu), yoga is not forced upon you in any manner in the way you described. If you are seeking ordainment as a monk, then yes, you will have to do the things you said, particularly the Six Yogas of Naropa and a retreat to perfect them usually at the site of Milarepa's cave.



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but have no idea that Joseph Pilates conceived the therapeutic strengthening/lengthening routine to rehabilitate injured dancers, and for injury prevention. That is "Pilates."


Actually, as far as I have always understood the historical record, Joseph Pilates developed his method of mind-body control during WWI to rehabilitate injured soldiers. It's lucky for us that those techniques then became known for, and adapted to, dance.


And I think the comparison -- and indeed collaboration or combination -- between schools of yoga practice and Pilates is an interesting and indeed, properly done, authentic innovation. As Pilates says in his second book [paraphrasing here] Pilates is a way of life and a method of integrating mind, body & breath. I think (I'm not as knowledgeable about yoga) that most schools of yoga, practised properly & authentically, would work from an identical starting point: of a system of life (not just physical practice) which seeks to integrate mind and body to achieve harmony and wisdom. Isn't that what most of us seek in the end?


But I think you've identified what starts to happen as these things become popularised and turned into commodities for commercial purposes. I am more optimistic, however. If being exposed to a half-hearted version of serious physical/art practices (such as ballet!) in a commercial gym means that even just one person is inspired to seek a greater level of knowledge, wisdom, and practice, then that's a good thing isn't it?

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Redbookish, you are absolutely right.


Pilates is a form of life, Joe Pilates had very interesting thoughts about education, health and life in general, all documented in his book "Yor Health".


I highly encourage every Pilates enthusiast to read it.


Pilates has not started as a form of exercise for dancers, Pilates did not really like the dancers a lot, many of them worked more with Clara, Joe's wife.


Pilates started out as a form of exercise to rehabilitate injured prisoners of war on the isle of man, later on Pilates taught boxers, business men, athletes.

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MrsManners, I can't PM you, so I'm having to post this publicly. This is a board where we share and discuss ballet, and associated physical/aesthetic practices which maybe part of a dancer's life. We try to do this with good humour, and respect for each other, and our diverse knowledge and experience, rather than cycnicism or didacticism. I'm closing this thread, as it seems that on this topic, a good humoured and respectful exchange of opinions and experiences is not going to be possible.

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