History & Benefits of Pilates and Yoga Poses (Positions)

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on July 31, 2012

The history of yoga indicates that Yoga is an age old discipline that originated in India and owes its popularity to Maharishi Patanjali. Maharishi Patanjali is known to have compiled the yoga sutras around 200BC.


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Yoga sutras are a compilation of 195 sutras that is now referred to as classic yoga. The practice of yoga and various forms of yoga are globally accepted ways to promote health and well being. The term yoga implies 'union or joining' in sanskrit.

The term yoga indicates the union or joining of individual soul and the higher soul or supreme energy. Yoga attributes focus on developing physical, emotional and spiritual health. Yoga is a combination of postures, breathing exercises and meditation to develop concentration, improve day to day functioning and attain better self control. Yoga therefore helps understand everyday struggles through a different perspective to lead a better life. Yoga has branched into different popular forms such as Bikram yoga, Dahn yoga and Power yoga. Yoga is broadly categorized into eight types of yoga namely hatha yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, karma yoga, kundalini yoga, mantra yoga, purna yoga and raj yoga. All popular forms have branched out from any one or combination of these types of yoga. The key benefits of practicing yoga are flexibility, improved physical and emotional health, weight loss, reduced chances of contracting illnesses and overall improvement in health. Increased vitality, improved skin condtions are also key benefits of practicing yoga regularly. Yoga as a discipline has eight pillars that hold this system of well being. The eight key pillars are yama ( moral observances while interacting with others), niyama (moral observances for self interaction) , asanas ( physical development through postures), pranayama( control of breath ), pratyahara ( detachment from material pleasures) , dharana ( focused concentration) , dhyana ( meditation) and samadhi ( spiritual consciousness). Yoga poses, asana or positions are the most commonly known as[ect of this discipline. The important postures or positions that are commonly used in yoga practice are adho mukta, ardha Sarvangasana, bhujangasana, savasana, tadasna and dog-cat poses. The history of Pilates also indicates that Pilates is also a similar way of physical and emotional development. Pilates was developed by Joseph H Pilates. Joseph Pilates had a background in yoga, Zen meditation and martial arts which helped him develop a unique sequence of movements that integrated the mind and the body. The set of exercises focus on core muscles and employs the mind to control the muscles.

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