Friday, 26 July 2013

Yoga versus Pilates – What´s the Difference

Yoga versus Pilates – What´s the Difference

As some of you may know, twice a year we offer a combined Yoga and Pilates holiday.
While walking the beautiful Denia coastline a few weeks ago with some guests on our latest joint holiday I asked how they were finding the two different disciplines.
For more information on our Yoga and Pilates Holidays in Spain click the link 

People who practice yoga on a regular basis found the Pilates quite challenging as the main attention is on the central part of the body using the core to improve the position of the backbone.

The Pilates regulars told me they found the yoga equally challenging as it is a "whole if body workout" with different breathing techniques
An article by M Eisner summarises the key differences in Pilates vs. yoga from their origins to their key benefits

Difference No. 1: Origin

The practice of yoga originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. It has evolved over the centuries and cultures into many different types of yoga: Ashtanga, Kripalu, Bikram and Vineyasa, to name just a few.

Pilates is a much younger practice, beginning in the mid-20th century by an athlete named Joseph Pilates. He created the exercises as a form of rehabilitation and strengthening. But dance is what made Pilates really popular. Dancers around the world began modifying and utilizing the practice to help them become stronger in their training and performance.

Difference No. 2: Mind & Body…and Spirit

Both yoga and Pilates bring an understanding that the mind and body are connected. However, yoga adds an additional element to the mix—the spirit. Exploring spirituality is a huge part of yoga practice, especially through meditation. While Pilates focuses on creating an understanding that the mind and body are connected and how this can help in everyday life, yoga focuses on the mind/body/spirit connection.

Difference No. 3: The Class

Each class you walk into will be different, so it’s tough to pinpoint specific distinctions, but this is one of the most frequently asked questions, so here goes…
Many yoga classes are flexible in routine. Postures, sequences and variations can be combined into tens of thousands of routines to create a class. So it will be up to the style of yoga you practice and the teacher guiding you to decide what’s on the agenda. There are some styles of yoga that have more of a set plan, such as Ashtanga and Bikram.
Pilates classes are a little more structured. Because of this, you will more likely know what to expect when you walk into the door of a Pilates class than in a yoga class.
Another element that is often (but not always) brought into a yoga class is meditation. Many yoga classes use a chant or meditation to bring in the focus and dedication at the beginning, and to seal in and appreciate the benefits of the practice at the end.

Difference No. 4: The Workout

In both practices, you will gain strength and flexibility. Pilates classes offer a total body workout but focus on aligning the spine and strengthening the core. The exercises done in Pilates classes almost always involve regimented movements to gain core and spine strength. Some classes and one-on-one sessions use machines to gain strength, while others keep you on the mat and use your body’s resistance to build results.
In a yoga class, you will work out every muscle in your body equally. Each posture is accompanied by a counter-posture to ensure you create balance in your body. While core-strength is definitely an important element in yoga, it is more of a piece of yoga, rather than the entire focus.

Difference No. 5: Breathing Techniques

Breathing and concentration techniques are important to both yoga and Pilates practices. However, yoga uses breath work on a very deep level. In energetic flow-based yoga classes such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga, the practice is called the ujjayi breath, where yogis breathe in and out through the nose, matching these deep breaths to the movements and postures. Often in yoga classes, there will be segments dedicated to breath work, called pranayama.

For more information on our Yoga and Pilates Holiday please go to YogaBreaks


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Yoga Music Playlists

Yoga Music Playlists

Music is such a personal thing and the choice of music for a Yoga class is a very tricky one. Any music played in a Yoga class should be there primarily as an aid to assist students

a) in gaining inner wellbeing, 
b) to help unclutter their minds and 
c) to find tranquillity.

Deciding whether to play music during Yoga classes is a tough call and needs careful thought and planning to get right. Students don't want to be subjected to someone's annoying bad taste in music or hear tunes that distract them by evoking memories.
Some Yogis prefer to conduct their classes without music, this way they can completely tune into their students breathing, adapt to their needs, include chanting and change the flow of the lesson if necessary.

Some have their tunes and they're sticking to them! Only a very well respected Yoga teacher can get away with playing the same tunes class after class.

At Yogabreaks our teachers try to judge the mood and specific tastes of our guests, coupled with the seasons and the weather which influence the music chosen in our yoga sessions on our holidays in Spain
Others are not so well prepared and are constantly interrupting the flow of the lesson by running backwards and forwards changing tracks.

Because music is a matter of personal preference it's a debate that will continue. What we would suggest is, if you don't like the music being played; please let your teacher know. They would much rather receive your feedback than lose you as a student.

For help on inspiring Yoga tunes we have found the following playlist examples…

The Yoga Journal suggests,  and we at Yogabreaks agree that the following tunes are ideal  for working through your daily sun salutation

·         Gayatri Mantra by Deva Premal and Miten
·         Sunrise by Norah Jones
·         Gayatri by Girish
·         Sun Is Shining by Bob Marley
·         Gayatri Mantra by Nada Shakti and Bruce Becvar
·         Surya by Jai Uttal and Ben Leinbach
·         In the Sun by Donna De Lory
·         Gayatri (Luscious Chill Mix) by Wah
·         (Final Curtain Call) Let the Sun Shine In by the New Broadway Cast of Hair

Being a talented musician and keen Yoga devotee we were interested to see what Adam Levine’s Yoga playlist is. Here are his favourite Yoga workout tunes

·         Time After Time by Quinton Tarver and Lee Perry
·         Tired Of Being Alone by Al Green
·         Brown Sugar by D'Angel
·         A Long Walk by Jill Scott
·         What's Goin On by Marvin Gaye
·         Kick Push by Lupe Fiasco
·         You Know That I'm No Good by Amy Winehouse
·         Maybe I'm Amazed by Jem
·         Life is Sweet by Natalie Merchant
·         Turn Me On by Norah Jones
·         Games Without Frontiers by Peter Gabriel
·         Love's Divine by Seal
·         Whenever, Wherever, Whatever by Maxwell
·         We Are One by Kelly Sweet
Jennifer Aniston works out to these tunes selected by her personal trainer
·         My Friend by Groove Armada
·         Pastime Paradise by Stevie Wonder
·         Let Me Roll by Seal
·         Lebanese Blond by Thievery Corporation
·         Speed of Sound by Coldplay
·         Jane Says by Jane's Addiction
·         If I Ain't Got You by Alicia Keys
·         Trouble by Ray LaMontagne
·         Shelter by Ray Lamontagne
·         Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones
·         Landslide by Fleetwood Mac

At, We´d love to hear what some of your favourite Yoga music is or if indeed you prefer your Yoga without music. Let us know your views on our facebook page Yogabreaks on Facebook

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Delicious Spanish Almond Cake

Spanish Almond Cake Recipe

This delicious & light cake is very typical of the Alicante region of Spain where Almond trees grow abundantly.   It also just so happens to be one of the cakes we make in the Spanish Cookery Workshop on our Yoga Breaks in Spain.