Fostering body awareness, acceptance, and improved performance.

Spring Resistance: The Pilates Secret Sauce

How spring resistance differentiates Pilates from Yoga

Lunge on the Chair
A lunge – with support from the Cadillac and Chair springs


If you didn’t read Part 1 of this series – Yoga and Pilates: Different Branches, Same Tree, check it out.

At the core of both Pilates and yoga is a focus on the pelvic area. Pilates focuses on the muscular power of the pelvic region while yoga sees that area as an energetic power center. Both consider control of the body to be a key element in unlocking control of the mind. Each practice has a range of exercises done on a mat, using gravity and body weight to stretch and strengthen.

Pilates takes the body control a step further and uses large equipment for support as well as challenge. Now, I’m not referring to small props like foam blocks, bolsters or blankets. I refer to Pilates-specific apparatus developed by Joe Pilates. The most common apparatuses are the Reformer, Cadillac (sometimes called Trapeze Table), and Chair*.

But what is different about Pilates equipment versus those items you use in a typical gym?

Similar Shapes: Yoga Boat Pose and Pilates Teaser - with spring support
Similar Shapes: Yoga Boat Pose and Pilates Teaser – with spring support

The springs are one component of the Pilates secret sauce. The benefit of springs is two-fold – to provide resistance that can be used for challenge or for support. Springs resistance can even change the muscular focus of an exercise. Take Side Splits on the reformer for example. With light springing, the work happens when the adductors pull the carriage to the footbar whereas the abductors have to work to push the carriage away from the footbar when the springs are heavy.

Equipment Pilates can be wonderful for the hypermobile. With the resistance of the springs, people challenged by joint laxity have some resistance to push against, helping them feel muscular work and limit their range of motion.

So why not combine Pilates and yoga as in our Yoga and Reformer Combo training?

  • You can still use the Pilates equipment you know and love!
  • You’ll move in new ways with the yoga postures.
  • You can practice balance and flow on the mat which is more grounded than the Reformer.
  • Yoga adds an element of relaxation and de-stressing which positively benefits not only your body but also your mind!

Down Dog to Plank Gif

GIf Up





Try our Yoga and Reformer Combo small group training and let us know what you think!

nicole-head-shotIn Good Health,


* There are a number of other less well-known pieces of equipment including the Pedi-Pole, and Toe Corrector.

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