Pilates Exercises: Equipment Based and Benefits

Pilates Exercises: Equipment Based and Benefits

So, we hope that by now you would have been practising Pilates for a while. Hopefully, in another week or two, you would be seeing the difference in your body fitness and activeness. Earlier we discussed mat based; now today we are going to discuss equipment based ones. As the name suggests these exercises require some sort of equipment.

Some of the common among these are:

Biceps CurlEquipment Based Pilates: Biceps Curl

 

Leg Lowers: Equipment Based Pilates: Leg Lowers

 

Salute: Equipment Based Pilates: Salute

 

Knee Stretch Curve: Equipment Based Pilates: Knee Stretch Curve

 

Hug a tree:Equipment Based Pilates: Hug A Tree

 

The Benefits of Pilates:

Develops the core of your body: The core muscles of your body include the muscles closest to the spine. These muscles are maintained by using the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle all together while performing these exercises.

Makes you more flexible and lean: These exercises stretches your body muscles and elongates them. The muscles become more elastic and joint mobility also increases.

Strengthens the muscles: The exercises Increase muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks (the ‘core muscles’ of your body).

Prevent Injuries: These focuses on all the muscles and hence, the task is evenly divided without burdening a particular muscle. It conditions your body effectively and thus preventing injuries.

It’s Safe: The gentleness of these exercises has its own aroma. The light weight exercises and easiness make you more comfortable while performing them.

Motivation: Pilates provide a good source of motivation not only for it but also for other activities. You are more easily able to do a task without getting bored.

All Round Benefits: Improves physical coordination of your body, good for the spine, increases concentration, relaxes your muscles and gives you a nice posture, emotional stability and reduction in anxiety and depression.

 

Hence, these exercises are a must in everyday life. If you haven’t started doing it yet, we would suggest you employ them in your daily life.

Advertisements

Hatha Yoga 

When you experience everything as oneness in your consciousness, then you are in yoga. To attain that unity within you, there are many ways. You work with the body, then you move to the breath, then to the mind, then to the inner self. Like this, many steps have been created, but they are only different facets of yoga. It is important that all of them are addressed in a very balanced way, all at once, as one single unit. There is really no division as such; yoga employs all aspects of who you are.

The body is a very large part of who you are right now. The science of using the body to hasten your evolutionary process is hatha yoga. The body itself has its own attitudes, its own ego, its own nature. Let us say you decided, “Starting tomorrow, I will get up at five in the morning and go for a walk.” You set the alarm. The alarm rings. You want to get up, but your body says, “Shut up and sleep.” It has its own way, doesn’t it? Hatha yoga is a way of working with the body, a way of disciplining, purifying and preparing the body for higher levels of energy and possibilities.

The Science of Hatha Yoga



Hatha yoga is not exercise. 

Understanding the mechanics of the body, creating a certain atmosphere, and then using body postures to drive your energy in specific directions is what hatha yoga or yogasanas are about. “Asana” means a “posture.” That kind of posture which allows you to reach your higher nature is a yogasana. There are other dimensions to this, but to put it in the simplest way, just by observing the way someone is sitting, you can almost know what is happening with him, if you have known him long enough. If you have observed yourself, when you are angry, you sit one way; if you are happy, you sit another way; if you are depressed, you sit another way. For every different level of consciousness or mental and emotional situation that you go through, your body naturally tends to assume certain postures. The converse of this is the science of asanas. If you consciously get your body into different postures, you can elevate your consciousness.

The body can become a means for your spiritual growth or it can become a major barrier. Suppose some part of your body – your hand, leg or back, for instance – is hurting. When it is hurting badly it is hard to aspire for anything higher because that becomes the biggest thing. Right now if you have a backache, the biggest thing in the universe is your backache. Other people may not understand that, but for the person who is going through it, that is the biggest thing. Even if God appears you will ask for your backache to go! You will not ask for anything else because the physical body has such a power over you. If it is not functioning well, it can take away all other aspirations from your life. Whatever you may fancy, all your longings just disappear once the body starts hurting – because to look beyond that takes an enormous amount of strength, which most people do not possess.

There are thousands of people who have come out of spinal problems by doing simple asanas. Doctors had told them they would definitely have to go through a surgery, but they never had to. Your back can be restored to such an excellent condition that you will never need to go to a chiropractor. It is not only your spine that becomes flexible; you also become flexible. Once you are flexible, you are willing to listen, not just to someone’s talk; you are willing to listen to life. Learning to listen is the essence of a sensible life.

Dedicating a certain amount of effort and time to see that the body does not become a barrier is important. A painful body can become a major obstacle, and so can a compulsive body. Simple compulsions, whether they are about the body wanting to relieve itself or of lust, can rule you so strongly that they will not allow you to look beyond; the physical body becomes a major entity. Body is only a part of you; it should not become the whole of you. Asanas level the body down to its natural place.

Hatha Yoga Prepares the Body



Another aspect of hatha yoga, when one wants to move into deeper dimensions of meditation, is that it allows for a higher possibility of energy. If you want your energies to surge upwards, it is very important that the pipeline of the body is conducive. If it is blocked, it will not work, or else, something will burst. Preparing the body sufficiently before one goes into more intense forms of meditation is very important. Hatha yoga ensures that the body takes it gently and joyfully.

Sitting Yogic Postures 

SUKHASANA

Sukhasana or the easy sitting pose is one of the simplest poses for meditation suited for all beginners. Sukhasana comes from the Sanskrit work ‘Sukham’ which can mean ‘comfort’, ‘easy’, ‘joyful’, ‘pleasure’, etc. Sukhasana can be done by all age groups.
BENEFITS OF SUKHASANA
Sukhasana is the most suited sitting posture for beginners. It is good for the practice of meditation and pranayama. Those who have tight hips, cannot sit in advanced postures like Padmasana. For them, Sukhasana is the easiest alternative.

Once you are comfortable with Sukhasana, you should move on to more advanced sitting postures like Ardha Padmasana, Padmasana or Sidhasana for meditation.
HOW TO DO SUKHASANA
1. Sit on the floor with legs stretched out. Always use a yoga mat or a cushion or a carpet while sitting on the floor.
2. Fold the left leg and tug it inside the right thigh.Then fold the right leg and tug in inside the left thigh.Keep the hands on the knees.
3. Sit erect with spine straight.Relax your whole body and breathe normally.
4. Maintain this position for as long a comfortable.
PADMASANA

The meaning of ‘Padma’ is the lotus. While sitting in this posture, the human body looks like a lotus. Thus it is named Padmasana
BENEFITS OF DOING PADMASANA.
Padmasana is basic posture for many yogic acts. If you want to do chanting for longer hours it is convenient to sit in this pose. Sitting in this posture makes the energy of human body taking its natural shape. It helps in healing several disorders in our body.
All the yogis and their pupils prefer to be in this posture while doing the various breathing exercises.
HOW TO DO PADMASANA
1. You just sit on the floor or on yoga net, spreading your legs in forward position.
2. Arrange your left foot on the right thigh and the right on your left thigh.
3. Keep the upper half of body straight and put left hand on left knee and right on the right knee. The palms should be facing upward.
VAJRASANA

Thunderbolt pose or Vajrasana is a modified way of sitting. One would not get tired for hours if he or she sits in this manner. It would keep the whole weight of the body on legs and in a balanced manner. The spine would remain straight automatically due to the pose.
BENEFITS OF VAJRASANA
Vajrasana helps the digestion process and assists in eliminating the gastric troubles. Those who have suffered from the pain in the knee would be benefited by doing this posture.
One who practices this yogic posture regularly does not suffer from fever, constipation, indigestion and other minor or major ailments. Your mind would also get stabilized in this posture. It is very useful while doing meditation, as it helps you becoming concentrated and focussed.
HOW TO DO VAJRA ASANA
1. First of all, sit on the floor by extending your legs forward and putting the palms resting.
2. Then bend your one leg from the knee and put it just below the buttock. Repeat the same act for another leg, in a way that the things rest on the legs and the buttocks on the heels.
3. Keep the breathing at normal speed. Even if you do not try keeping the breath normal, it will catch its normal speed naturally!
4. Put both the hands resting on thighs and sit erect. You might feel some pain in ankles, knees or toes; but gradually it will be set right.
Regular practice of these postures will make you  Harmonious and Healthy.

Yogic Postures and Their Importance 

People today have a greater knowledge of the many positive ways physical fitness can impact their health. Most people try to exercise their bodies with programmes​ that appeal to them, but there are also a lot of fad programmes​ that seem to disappear almost as quickly as they appeared to become part of mainstream fitness. Many regimens are tough to adhere to which is why so many people end up exercising very little or not at all. It is, however, possible to strengthen your body without going to a gym, straining your body, or publicly sweating out your entire water supply. 

Yogic Postures (sanskrit  : Aasana) are very significant in yogic sciences. These denote a specific position which can be held in a relaxed and comfortable manner for a long period of time. Yogic Postures have a far-reaching effect upon body and mind. These effects are attained through practice.

Yogic Postures are beneficial for the muscles, joints, cardiovascular system, nervous system and lymphatic system, as well as the mind, psyche and Chakras (energy centres). They are psychosomatic exercises, which strengthen and balance the entire nervous system and harmonise and stabilise the practitioner’s state of mind. The effects of these exercises are a sense of contentment, clarity of mind, relaxation and a feeling of inner freedom and peace.

The breath plays an important role in the Yogic Postures. With coordination of breath and movement, the Yoga practice becomes harmonious, the breath deepens of its own accord and the body’s circulation and metabolism are stimulated. Use of the breath greatly enhances muscle relaxation by concentrating on tense areas of the body and consciously relaxing those parts with each exhalation.

The objective of the Yogic Postures is not the conversion of bottled-up energy or tension into movement, rather it is to harmonise the body and mind by consciously observing the physical and mental process as each movement or relaxation is practiced. The body does not become tired or exhausted through the Yogic Postures. On the contrary, with energy recharged, one feels rested and refreshed.

Health Benefits of Yogic Postures :

1. Flexibility of the spine is increased

2. The joints become more mobile

3. The muscles are relaxed, toned and receive a plentiful supply of blood

4. Organ and glandular activity is stimulated and regulated

5. The lymphatic system and metabolism are stimulated

6. The immune system is strengthened

7. Circulation and blood pressure are normalised and stabilised

8. The nervous system is calmed and strengthened

9. The skin becomes clear and fresh
Practising Yogic Postures for few minutes daily, can greatly enhance your physical, mental and emotional health.