Three reasons why Pilates can help your yoga practice

By Enzo Ventimiglia & Clelia Coppone

Perhaps someone among those who never practiced them, may misunderstand Pilates and Yoga. Many people tend to associate these two disciplines. After all it’s true that Joseph Pilates (the man who created this world-known method) studied yoga and borrowed a great deal of hints from this millennial science, although there is more than one aspect that set them apart. First of all, the mood that inspires them: whereas Pilates is a method that privilege strength and control, Yoga is based on creativity and freedom to express through the body, focusing on spiritual issues. Whereas many yoga asanas improve flexibility,  Pilates focus is on the stability in the joints and the strength in the muscles.

If you are a Yoga enthusiast as we are, perhaps you should know that you can benefit a lot from the practice of Pilates (as well as the opposite).  Matching  these two practices is a good idea to prevent injury and to feel a greater sense of well-being!

So let’s see how Pilates can enrich our yoga practice.

  1. Pilates strengthen our core

One of the greatest Pilates’ insight is about the core, more exactly what mr. Pilates called powerhouse, the place from where all the strength derives,the body’s center of gravity. The abs, sure, but not only abs: the powerhouse includeslower back, buttocks and pelvic floor. Some muscles help us to stabilize our posture, others concur to most of the movements we do every day, giving them strenght and dynamism. Pilates gave a so great importance to powerhouse that he based on it the second of his method’s principles: all the Pilates exercises start with the activation of the powerhouse. A powerful core gives a greater control over movements,helps to hold balance with more ease, and prevents unnecessary strain on the joints. In yoga a well-engaged core helps in keeping with ease some trickier poses and can also give us a better stretch for our muscles.

  1. Breathe properly

Yoga was a source of inspiration for Joseph Pilates. As an asthmatic child he had to struggle all his youth to overcome his disease. It’s said that he approached yoga to learn more about breathwork and, later, developed a theory of his own: he believed that the bottom of the lungs was a repository for infection and germs, and that a deep exhalation could help to cleanse toxins. So, what to do to empty our lungs?  The concept of core turns to be useful even in this case: engaging abdominal muscles, it’s easier to exhale all the remaining air from the lungs and purify them.

  1. Alignment, alignment, alignment

There is no Pilates without alignement. What does it mean? It means that our body is built in such a way that every bone and every joint should connect to the others just in one way. When we move we should respect what Mother Nature created in so a perfect way and that’s what Pilates teaches to its practicioners to develop a balance all along the body and the muscles. In yoga, alignment happens to be misunderstood to the detriment of bones and joints health. So what we achieve with Pilates is very useful to trasform our yoga practice



Enzo has a degree in Sciences of physical activities and sports with honors with a thesis on Pilates and Yoga in the treatment of low back pain. Since adolescent has begun to explore the infinite potential of yoga, then as now fascinated by those activities that go beyond the physical effort to intrude into the pleasure of a mind centered and a spirit satisfied. These were the years when his journey began training in ju-jitsu, rules in master 2* Dan and with whom he won the most coveted national and international titles in the specialty randori couples. This specialty has enabled him to perform all over Italy and in much of Europe coming in contact with world-renowned masters: It ranked in first place at the World Championships UNJJ. of 1998 in Spain, He got the third place at the World Championships WKF. of 1999 Austria and did an encore in France 2000.

Over the years, Enzo has expanded his knowledge by practicing karate, aikido, and shiatsu, after, with Pilates becoming certified teacher Polestar Pilates, international school based in the United States recognized by the PMA. (Pilates Method Alliance). During several trips to California he has experienced different styles of yoga that have guided his practice until the meeting with dazzling Sensei Roberto Milletti,,it,ore e membro dell’Education team,,en,”Odaka Yoga – says Enzo – is a style that suits the practitioner and not vice versa,,it,After working as a technical director in various fitness centers,,it,Yoga and is dedicated to the training of teachers in the field mindbody,,it,founder,,it,Mat You Can,,en,a,,es,online lessons platform of yoga and Pilates,,it,that allows you to practice from home in comfort,,it,choosing the duration and objectives of the lesson and is a great tool for teachers who want to keep constantly updated,,it, founder of Odaka Yoga, where he became a certified teacher 500 ore e membro dell’Education team. “Odaka Yoga – dice Enzo – è uno stile che si adatta al praticante e non viceversa: as the water conforms to the shape of its container, Odaka Yoga suits mode of expression of those who practice. Odaka consider a synthesis of my past experiences to the deep connection between that recreates the yogic philosophy and that of the warrior, typical of martial arts “.

Aware of the importance of a proper balance between mind and body Enzo practice for years with regular meditation alternating with severe physical practice daily Pilates and Yoga, reference point of his studies expanded through participation in master and conferences around the world. Dopo aver lavorato come direttore tecnico in vari centri fitness, October 2007 inaugurates the study Pilates Fusion & Yoga e si dedica alla formazione di insegnanti nel settore mindbody. E’ il fondatore di Mat You Can, una piattaforma di lezioni online di yoga e Pilates che consente di praticare da casa in tutta comodità, scegliendo la durata e gli obiettivi della lezione ed è un ottimo strumento anche per gli insegnanti che vogliono mantenersi costantemente aggiornati.





Maintaining fluidity in the flow of life.

by Odaka Yoga Francesca Cassia & Roberto MIlletti

Yoga and osteopathy derive from a homeopathic vision of the human being: both are seeking fluidity. A fluid body, drained, with ” working lympathic system brings upon wellness and a prefect synchronicity of mind and body.

To move with awareness and presence allows for the fluidity of the organism that is always moving and changing, increasing our vital energy (prana) that is essential to our physical and meant a wellbeing. Every human being is created to maintain a natural state of balance (health), but this notion is usually difficult to apply due to various factors tied to our lifestyle, physical trauma and our emotions.


The osteop”thic techniques of manipulation, which are integrated in a yoga practice, with conscious movements of the body that are founded on breathing, create harmony and allow for our system to remove blocks from emotional or physical tension, in order to be able to easily reach homeostasis and the eventual pre-existing dysfunction leaves space for a “physiologic” l self-healing.” The potential self-healing may be reawakened from specific actions that act upon our muscular, internal, cranial, hormonal and emotional system.

The tissue system (complex system of tissue connection) and the bodyʼs meridian system (chAnnels of energetic connection coincide with A yogic and osteopathic practice, which favor the attainment and the maintenance of a global state of balance and physical and mental vitality.


In OdAka” Yoga, by using a certain rhythm and inflection in the sequence, there comes forth a certain peculiar flow of internal energy (prana); it is possible to experiment and point out the theoretical principles and the existing connections between the two philosophies through the following:

___ the shaking of the tailbone

this reawakens the prana and allows the kundalini energy to spread throughout the body while ascending to the cranium as explained by William Garner Sutherland;

___ the movement of the waves

that deeply connects the cranial area and the tailbone area, combined with listening to the natural breath, goes to determine the right fluidity in terms of

energy, fluctuation mechanisms that in osteopathy is defined as “tide”, meaning the back and forth fluid motion;

____ liquify your limits

flowing like water in its multiple forms, allows for the understanding of how to be in the “flow.” A state in which one becomes aligned with his/her most genuine self, our intentions and the environment that surrounds us. In doing so it is possible to experience a sense of freedom that transforms every obstacle and limitation to discover new “forms” within ourselves.


William Garner Sutherland defines “the Breath of Life” the Mechanism of Primordial Breathing with microfluctuations of the cranium that spreads throughout the body through the cerebrospinal fluid, through the membranes that envelop the brain and the bone marrow of the spine or rather the crani”l system.

“A true and sincere act that belongs to me is one that, when finished, makes me happy. I see myself, I feel comfortable regardless of my insecurities.”

In osteopathy, fluidity is understood as elimination of the cornerstone derived from tension in order to reactivate the normal physiologic”l state of the various apparatus.

______ spiral concept:

the concept of a spiral is the idea of a  never-ending movement; an open and unlimited movement. The spiral is energy and produces energy; in breathing, energy and movement move in unison in a type of vortex following the same form in nature and that of the human body. The spiral in osteopathy has beginnings in the axial strip that encircles the dura mater that then extends into the other strips that unifies the muscles, joints and gut.

________ the Ultimate Warrior movements:

the combination of personal defence techniques, functional movements and yoga poses allow the body to move slowly and smoothly during the transition from one position to the next involving, simultaneously, the entire kinetic chain of movement. The poses are done safely and the practice also has an effect on an emotional level.

In osteopathy, the connection between the body and emotions happens through the dural tube that is itself activated by the PNEI System (Psycho Neuro Endocrine Immune).

“Do not resist; do not create suffering. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forw:rd; in some way this is what it likes.”

L:o Tzu

The balance of the PNEI System guarantees psycho-physic”l wellbeing, understood as our minds, our neurological system, endocrine system and immune system all working well.

Two Precious Tools

It is important to have energy move freely and consciously. To know how to distribute oneʼs emotional flow inside and outside oneself. Flexibility and flowing allow individuals to build relationships that are soft and elastic in order to become better at growth and transformation. Transform and let go…. Maintain the flow in the ebb and flow of life. One must keep the mind in a continuous state of fluidity, slightly meditative, characterised by calm movements, slow and centered and by a general sense of joy and satisfaction when confronted with life, the present moment, since the mind can become fixated on something means that the flow has been interrupted and there is no free behaviour.


This involves  new format, a fascinating project that allows for a journey mainly of experience and geared toward the understanding of Yoga and Osteopathic techniques. The intention is to bring back the old tradition of communication and expression of body language where the body is lived as a result of an evolving process in flux: live the moment with trust in the bodyʼs intelligence and the listening to oneself (and of the other). This generates empathy and frees all creative resources. The sharing and the transmission of knowledge accompanies people to enter into a space of listening openly and to reconnect with the bodyʼs needs. To express and affirm oneʼs originality, one must start with unique movements because they have origins in experience and individual awareness.

“Flow with whatever is happening and free your mind. Be centered accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”

Chuang Tzu

Experience :as a Base
Practical experiences stimulate our bodiesʼ emotions during movement making us aware of our internal and external world.

The temporal dimension that has been slowed down allows one to find a functional and organic movement that respects the bodily structure and the intimate relationship with the earth, space, others, allowing to revive our motor

skills, which is a part of human evolution.

This technique allows for a lesson in listening to messages from the body, “a place of resources and potential, experimenting with the birth of movement beginning with basic elements of openness to bring oneself into the space. The psychomotor benefit are many and very well valued. But, the heart of the method beats around the body. Mannerisms are listened to, “along with posture and immobility in order to stimulate the forgotten parts, starting with movement, can create a positive change in psychophysical wellbeing.

While practicing one can experiment with the fact that change is at hand: the body is key to this journey and the road to a life full of marvellous encounters. The proposal is simple for everyone and the experience happens exclusively through action not words because the body does not know how to lie. The finding is geared towards the discovery of honest movement and so extremely unique. During the course of an encounter, music and movement serve as a guide to support the union of Yoga and Osteop”thy. A synergetic union, when intermixed, that mutually enriches.

“If you are compassionate with your body, this will repay you with moments of happiness.”

by Francesca Cassia And Roberto MIlletti

Let’s repeat as our mantra: “Happiness is a state of the soul. A state of innate joy in living the present moment.”

Happiness is not an uninterrupted sequence of pleasures. Happiness cannot depend on external factors that consume it and make it vulnerable. Happiness does not become agitated, does not adapt to tricks nor does it logically make sense or does it need cooling off. Happiness is a mental state that enables one to handle joyful and painful emotional states in the same way. Just like the ocean floor, which remains still even when there are ripples at the surface.

“Happiness is not in acquiring and enjoying [what we purchased], but in the not desiring anything, which is the only way to feel free.” – Epictetus

In primordial yoga there existed developmental spiritual practices that would train the body and mind to observe oneself to become more aware of one’s nature. The original purpose of yoga was to cultivate discernment, understanding and one’s superior conscience. Within the course of time, there was a split between those who searched for physical development and those who searched for spiritual development. The lack of consciousness and attention for an internal experience, gradually disconnected the student from his/her body. Instead, the intrinsic meaning of yoga remains to expand one’s level of consciousness.

Happiness is a quality of the soul – as Patanjali teaches – the more we are “connected” to ourselves, therefore, to our soul (or Superior Self), the more we are happy. Yoga has had the high regard of imposing on the Western world a modern tool capable of reducing stress, improving well-being and increasing flexibility. [Yoga] in its expansion has highlighted the great work it does on a muscular level and, at times, forgetting the importance of its main objective: one’s consciousness that differentiates and elevates it with respect towards other sports. Narcissism, that is often seen in many sports, is the result of excessive embellishment that focuses on the actual pose and alignment. However, this places a conceptual distance from the true practice of yoga. Improving one’s flexibility is something that one gains over time. But, this is not the aim. This is an example that certain sports are transfixed on asanas that they forget the entire meaning of yoga.

Gurdjeff always said that only one thing is necessary: do not identify with what comes and what goes. “The morning comes, then the afternoon, then the evening. Night comes and then again the morning. But, you remain. If you identify yourself, you become the mind; if you identify yourself, you become your body; if you identify yourself, you become your name and your form; and the owner of the house is lost.”

The essence of an Odaka Yoga practice coincides with this thought; yoga is a means to an end and not the end. Extraordinary power is enclosed in the present moment; one needs to transform “doing yoga” into “being yoga.” Only in this way, can yoga become an instrument that sharpens the mind and allows one to see reality clearly. On the mat we must answer the question: “what defines the present moment?” By grounding our consciousness directly into action, completely in the present, at every point of existence, we can prepare ourselves until no problem and no suffering can settle within us. If through yoga we are able to find our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social balance, then body, mind, heart and spirit will establish a complete, profound and lavish happiness on every level. Obstacles, challenges and difficulties do not appear as negative events, but simply as experiences for our growth and evolution.

It is not easy being in the present moment. It is easier to set objectives and direct ourselves towards the future of our dreams….but this behaviour can create the mind to be trapped in the future.

The yoga mat is a microcosm. Every action and intention “affects” our nervous system and is copied in daily life. When we practice we must pay attention to the messages our bodies send and focus on its physical and emotional intelligence. Presence in yoga is centered in the reality of our bodies because our bodies do not “lie.” If one notes physical stress, the mind might deny it. But, not the body. Yoga uses the simple transparency of our bodies as a means to guide our minds to the here and now. If we tune our minds towards completely listening to the totality of every single instant, we can give ourselves magnificent feelings of happiness. A happiness that insists on our journey of discovery.

The mind considerably influences our wellbeing; even science is gradually recognizing the importance of mental behaviour and how it is tightly bound to our health. Our mind is an extraordinary instrument. We need only to learn how to use it wisely. Even though an asana is important, we must understand that it is only an instrument not the goal. We have to count on a peaceful mind, an open heart and kind and compassionate behaviour – not on perfect alignment! Where our thoughts go, our energy follows! Let’s not forget that.

“If you are compassionate with your body, this will repay you with moments of happiness.”