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Army October 1, 2009
Some yoga postures, such as the
shoulder stand (sarvangasana), can
be dangerous due to the pressure
on the neck and potential for injury.
If you are unsure about any exercise,
see your PTI or physiotherapist for
advice. If you begin to feel pain or
discomfort when performing an
exercise or pose during a class, tell
your instructor immediately. If, after
correcting or modifying the move,
you are still finding it uncomfortable,
cease doing it and talk to your PTI or
NOTHING TO BE GAINED FROM STANDING THE PAIN
Strike a pose
When it comes to a choice between yoga and pilates as training
methods, Lt Rob Orr says both have their benefits -- as long as
you do them the right way.
BEFORE you decide wheth-
er you'll stretch to yoga
or muscle in on pilates, it
pays to understand what
each discipline is.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning
union or joining and, in its purest
form, has eight components, or
limbs. The most popular of these
in Western societies is asana, or
physical postures and poses.
Like martial arts, yoga comes
in various styles, following different
philosophies. Where some yoga
styles pause and hold poses, oth-
ers practise a more fluid variation.
Bikram yoga is conducted in spe-
cially heated rooms.
While stretching and flexibility
are often considered the main ben-
efits of yoga, performing the pos-
tures also develops strength relative
to your body weight. Try holding the
warrior pose for a while and your
muscles will tell you this.
The combination of flexibility and
strength aims to create balance in
Pilates, meanwhile, is said to
have originated early last century,
when Joseph Pilates developed
exercises to help soldiers recover
from World War I battle wounds.
Credited with developing lean
muscular strength, as well as mus-
cle control and posture, pilates
became popular with ballet danc-
ers before the mainstream health,
fitness and rehabilitation arena
It is not as diverse in its styles
as yoga, generally dividing into mat-
based or equipment-based forms.
In short, yoga concentrates
on creating balance in the body
through muscle flexibility and
strength, while pilates focuses on
strengthening the stability muscles
to improve physical function in eve-
Both methods provide the ben-
efits of physical activity, including
improving circulation, stamina,
mental focus and relaxation.
Regardless of which discipline
you go for, it is important to observe
a few basic rules, so you and others
get the most out of it.
Turn off your phone
Make a habit of doing this as
soon as you get to the session.
Arrive on time
Arrive well before the sched-
uled start. Walking into a class in
progress can be dangerous for you
and other participants. Many studios
have a five- or 10-minute policy,
while others exclude latecomers.
Remove your shoes
Shoes are not worn for most
yoga and pilates classes. Some stu-
dios have a space for shoes outside
or inside the door. Where possible,
take off your shoes outside and
carry them in.
Wear suitable clothing
As you will be moving through
a variety of postures, your clothing
needs to be flowing, but not baggy.
The instructor must be able to see
your body line during the move-
Keep variations appropriate
If you are attending a basic
class, stick to the fundamental ver-
sions of the postures so as not to
confuse others or draw their focus
away from the instructor.
Warm up and cool down
Ensure you arrive in time to
warm up but, just as importantly,
avoid leaving the class before the
cool down or yoga savasana (final
Not only does this disrupt other
class members, but an important
part of the physical exercise proc-
ess is lost. Each part of a session is
there for a reason.
Photo by Cpl Corinne Boer
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