Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to be flexible?
Nope! Yoga and Pilates will both improve flexibility. Yoga will probably improve your flexibility more quickly than Pilates because in yoga we do multiple poses solely to stretch, and in Pilates most of the exercises focus on building strength and stability.
I also hear "I'm not flexible enough to do yoga". That's why we do it! Saying you're not flexible enough for yoga or too weak for Pilates is like saying you're too hungry to eat!
What is Pilates?
To put it simply, Pilates is a really great mind-body workout! Pilates uses exercises to work specific muscle groups. Pilates workouts focus on core strength, stabilizing joints, building strength and toning muscle, and increasing flexibility.
Reformer Pilates uses a piece of equipment called a Reformer to add resistance to Pilates exercises. The resistance comes from springs, which challenge muscles during the concentric contractions (when the muscle contracts while shortening, like the bicep during a bicep curl) and during eccentric contractions (when the muscle contracts while lengthening, like the bicep when you straighten your arm after a bicep curl, controlling the weight against gravity). Working the muscles using eccentric contractions has actually been shown to build muscle faster than concentric contractions! That is one of the reasons Pilates is so effective.
What is mind-body exercise?
Mind-body workouts work the muscles, but can also help increase body awareness, reduce anxiety and stress, and help prevent injury. Mind-body exercise, like yoga and Pilates, encourages awareness of what your body and your breath is doing while you are working out. For example, breathing a certain way while doing a specific movement. We also call attention to where your body is in space. When you practice aligning your body correctly, you learn to pay more attention to what your body is doing throughout the day. For example, you might notice that you always cross your right knee over your left when you sit, or that you always carry your bag on your left shoulder. These types of habits can lead to muscle imbalance, which can lead to injury.
What is yoga?
Yoga is something different to everyone. In its simplest form, it is a form of exercise where we use poses to stretch and strengthen the body. Yoga was developed in ancient India thousands of years ago. There is no solid consensus on when it actually started because the first yogis passed on knowledge and ideas verbally or written on items like palm leaves that did not stand the test of time. The basic point of yoga is to look inward to the self. Physical postures (also called poses or “asanas”) are used to focus the mind and allow that inward reflection. I like to think of it as a moving meditation. The physical benefits of yoga are actually a secondary perk to the practice, but are usually the reasons we try yoga in the first place!
Is yoga a religion?
No, yoga is not a religion. There are many misconceptions about yoga, and I do not claim to know everything about it! I could learn about yoga my whole life and never know everything there is to know. I think that yoga is sometimes confused as a religion first because of it’s age (thousands of years!) and because it comes from a different part of the world. The ancient yogis believed that through diligent practice of yoga, one could achieve enlightenment. That said, they also believed that women should not do yoga, and yet here we are!
At its deepest, yoga is a philosophy. Ancient texts advise that yogis practice things like nonviolence, being truthful, and not being greedy. But to do yoga, we are not asked to worship anything or anyone, and we are not asked to pray to anything or anyone. That said, I am Christian, and I often pray during my yoga practice. Yoga is a great time for us to be still and quiet, allowing us to meditate on whatever our souls need or just enjoy the silence. There are no requirements to do yoga and you will not be forced to do anything. Yoga is a very personal practice, and I encourage everyone to do what is best for them and what is best for their body. Yoga can benefit people of all religions, races, and genders, and all people are welcome in my classes.
I have a Reformer Pilates appointment... where do I go, and what do I wear?
The studio is located within Elevate Wellness and Physical Therapy, at 801 West C Street, Suite 3, in McCook, Nebraska. Simply walk in the front door at Elevate and head toward the front desk. You are welcome to wait in the seating area, and I will come out and show you to the studio!
You should wear clothes you are comfortable moving in. People often do yoga and Pilates in "yoga pants" or tighter fitted clothing, so it stays put! You do not have to wear yoga pants to do yoga or pilates, just be mindful of what your clothes might do if you lay on your back with your legs in the air! I just ask that you wear something you can move in, and that men wear pants or compressions shorts under their athletic shorts.
You can do Pilates in bare feet or in socks. If you prefer socks, I would suggest finding a pair with sticky bottoms for grip.