A controversial title, but please let me explain the background behind Pilates is Christian whilst yoga is not?
It was any easy decision for the topic of my blog this week having read on the website of a UK newspaper the story that a church has banned yoga from its premises because it’s “non-Christian”, but it was still allowing Pilates, which presumably is Christian?
First of all, as with every news story nowadays, I checked to make sure it wasn’t “fake news” and it turns out that it wasn’t. The Church bosses said that Pilates is OK, but not yoga, which “might be seen to be in conflict with Christian values and belief”.
This got me thinking…. I have no intention of entering any religious debate, and while the local villagers say they will boycott St David’s Church, in Ceredigion, Wales, in protest, I was thinking more about values and beliefs. I have read thousands of times that one of the differences between Pilates and yoga is that yoga is more spiritual. In my experience, I think that the majority of Pilates teachers I have met would agree. Would you? I do not think it is so clear cut and here is why.
In the words of one Joseph Pilates; “Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. Through Contrology you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities”.
So Pilates should be coordination of body, mind and spirit? Spirit? A small minority of people have criticised me for including mindfulness and spirituality in PilatesEVO saying that it isn’t “real” Pilates and one esteemed teacher once said to me that I was distorting the true Pilates method. Once again, forgive me but I beg to differ. I have seen hundreds of Pilates training sessions from many different schools and I have never seen any teacher training course and very few Pilates manuals mention anything other than the physical performance of the exercises. So who is the once distorting true Pilates, whatever “true” Pilates means?
I was inspired to create PilatesEVO and to include ideas such as mindfulness meditation, NLP and meridians by the idea of total wellness that Joseph Pilates talked about. It is impossible to have total wellness if we ignore the mind and spirit. My aim as a Pilates teacher is to try to help my clients help themselves to achieve their maximum potential. If we only think in terms of the physical, I think that then we are failing our clients.
My interpretation of what JP meant might not be your interpretation, and I appreciate that many people will never change from their idea as to what Pilates should be, and those people are probably scoffing right now as they read this blog (if they didn’t already stop reading at the first mention of spirit). But I am experiencing a growing number of open minded teachers who want to explore the idea of total wellness and go beyond the traditional beliefs as to what Pilates should or shouldn’t be.
I respect everyone’s opinion as to what constitutes Pilates because ultimately we all love Pilates and we are trying to help our clients to improve their quality of life. All I ask is that people repay the compliment and consider something different. After all, if you truly believe in what Joseph Pilates was trying to achieve, then you must believe that Pilates is “coordination of body, mind and spirit” mustn’t you?
No matter what your religion or Pilates background, if you are interested in learning more about PilatesEVO and how we apply principles including mindfulness meditation, NLP and meridians to the teaching of Pilates, then please click here to be taken to the PilatesEVO School website. You can also email the PilatesEVO School in Barcelona on firstname.lastname@example.org. PilatesEVO is not only a standalone system of flowing sequences; the main principles can be used in the teaching of any Pilates or fitness class. You can study PilatesEVO online and learn how to add spirit to your Pilates teaching.
Thanks for reading. If you want to contact me then please email me on email@example.com.
2 thoughts on “Pilates is Christian whilst yoga is not?”
super-interesting article! totally new insight – thank you!
Well thank you Nina, please check back here often for new articles, and you can always sign up too! 🙂