I don’t know if it’s just me, but the usual pre-workout stretch just isn’t cutting it anymore. I’m not sure if it’s because I am spending hours hunched over my laptop and looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame when I am eating snacks and watching TV or if I am just getting old (to be honest, it’s probably the former). It just feels like no matter how much stretching I do before my workouts, I am always running the risk of pulling something and walking the thin line of serious injury.
Recently, someone had suggested that I start my workouts off with a brief yoga session and incorporate Pilates into my HIIT workout days. If I am being completely honest with you, living in Brooklyn for the majority of my time in New York and seeing the white-washing of yoga really turned me off, and I just couldn’t bring myself to participate in the green juice and organic hemp everything lifestyle. Come to find out that yoga is not only an impactful, spiritually-adjacent practice that has proven to have a positive effect on mental health, but it also serves as a great way to dynamically stretch before a workout and gently cool you down post-workout.
Now that I cleared up why yoga is a good addition to your workout routine, why Pilates? Pilates, founded by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, was created to improve flexibility, build strength, and develop control and endurance in the entire body by activating the “powerhouse,” aka your core abdomen muscles. Starting to see some functional intersectionality with yoga? One of the best things I’ve realized since practicing Pilates is that what gives me the best results and is really a fast track to strength is not in the number of reps I do or in the intensity of my workouts, but in the slow, hyper-controlled movements I do. At the risk of sounding like a complete cornball, Pilates really embodies the connection between the mind and body.
So if you’re anything like me, on the edge of injury nearly every time you workout, consider integrating yoga and/or Pilates into your practice. I guarantee you’ll not only see better results, but you will find that both of these mentally-centered practices will positively affect every part of your life.
Photo via Power Living