Unsure if Pilates or yoga are for you? To help you decide, we asked instructors from four studios in Singapore to share why they love these core-strengthening, low-impact workouts.
Options Pilates Studio
RODERICK “ERICK” MENDOZA, Master Trainer at Options Pilates Studio
“I’ve worked in the fitness industry for 20 years and have been teaching Pilates for seven years. I originally got into Pilates because of a low back pain that I got through continuous strength training without a consistent stretching regimen. I was looking for something to help with the pain and this led me to Pilates, which has helped a lot in keeping the pain away.
I love the variety and modifications for each exercise; you can modify each one specifically to achieve a certain objective that addresses an individual’s unique condition, and different apparatuses can be used for different levels of intensity – it never gets boring!”
Erick’s top reasons to practice Pilates:
• Maintain joint mobility and stability with less stiffness
• Strengthen your core, which means a stronger back
• Improve posture, which leads to less muscle tension
• Help improve body awareness, which, in turn, encourages proper posture
• Complement other exercise regimens, as it uses muscles we aren’t normally aware of
About Options Pilates
Options Pilates offers a variety of classes at its Orchard Road (International Building), Oxley Rise Road (One Oxley Rise) and Bukit Timah (Sime Darby Centre) studios, as well as at the American Club Singapore. Whether you’re looking to correct your posture, improve your back pain or try Pilates for leisure or sports, there’s a type here for everyone, including pre- and post-natal classes. Options also offers year-round classes for those who’d like to become certified instructors.
DIPTI MISTRY, Pilates specialist at UFIT Clinic
“I love Pilates because it makes me feel great! Besides working on core strength and stability, it really develops body and movement awareness, which I particularly like; the better you’re able to move, the better you’ll feel. The improvement in mobility, posture and flexibility is just a bonus. Coming from a dance background, I found there’s a lot of similarities between Pilates and dance, and that’s what drew me to it. After the first-ever mat class I took in London eight years ago, I was hooked! I really enjoy seeing clients progress, especially when someone has pain; getting them moving pain free again is great to see. Even smaller progressions like finding exercises that were once challenging become a little easier is a win!”
WANY MISBAN, Pilates Instructor and Bootcamp trainer at UFIT Clinic
“My honest reason why I got hooked on Pilates is the really tight and sexy bum an instructor had while he was showing us some exercises on the Pilates chair during a workshop in school! Then, I was offered to be mentored by and work with my ex-lecturer, whom I looked up to while getting my diploma. When I started out in personal training after graduation, I fell in love with the process of learning more deeply about the science and movements of Pilates.”
LUCY WARREN, Senior Physiotherapist & Reformer Pilates Specialist at UFIT Clinic
“I love how versatile Pilates is – anyone and everyone can do it! My clients vary from pregnant women to retired office workers to semi-professional athletes. The extensive repertoire enables every session to be tailored to each individual’s needs and personal goals.
As a physiotherapist, it makes sense for me to use Pilates to target areas of imbalance, muscle weakness and stiffness. Pilates encourages body awareness and helps to activate muscles that have become inactive through pain, disuse or overdevelopment of more global muscles. I’m able to apply the principles of Pilates to rehabilitate a lot of my clients and I love to see how quickly they notice the benefits.”
About UFIT Clinic
UFIT’s holistic exercise rehab and movement therapy clinic offers reformer and mat Pilates classes taught by experienced physiotherapists and musculoskeletal practitioners. Group mat and reformer classes – kept very small to ensure each client is given personalised attention – are offered at the Raffles Quay location, while group reformer classes are offered at the Orchard Clinic; private sessions are available at both locations.
The Yoga School
ZOYA HOLLAND, Pilates instructor at The Yoga School
“Having practised both yoga and Pilates for nearly 20 years, I’ve discovered numerous benefits to both of these amazing holistic disciplines. For me, yoga increases focus and mindfulness, and has always been a breath of fresh air – a real bit of “me time”; it makes me really pause and appreciate the present by taking a little time to reflect instead of planning for the future or reminiscing about what has already passed. It increases my energy, and offers a strong but calm experience without a post-class energy drop, which makes it a really good choice for lunchtime and evenings. I also find that yoga boosts immunity, as it activates the rest-and-digest part of the nervous system.
One of my favourite things about Pilates is that it focuses on posture and better alignment for all joints; after back extensions and shoulder openers, you’ll never walk out of a class slouching! In Pilates, we spend a lot of time developing flexibility and strength in our major joints – hips, knees, shoulders – as well as the spine, making joints stronger, minimising the risk of injury and reducing pain. All the exercises focus on the core – the wide belt of muscles in your abdominals, waist and back – providing a strong and safe base for every single activity you do, including sports.”
PEARL BHASIN, Dharma and Begin Yoga instructor at The Yoga School
“I’ve been practising yoga for about 20 years now, and teaching for five years. I first started practising just to stretch and de-stress, before realising that the benefits go way beyond that. I have learned that yoga is the journey toward self realisation – knowing who and what we really are, and how we are part of a bigger picture – via self-knowledge and intuition. Yoga is too good not to share, and I always remain a humble servant to all whose practices I serve. And that’s why I teach!
Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind. When we can still the chatter of the mind, we gain clarity. Through the challenges of the physical poses, we train the mind to remain focused, exercise determination, yet remain equanimous enough to know the difference between trying our best and trying too hard. Any other side effects, like a flatter tummy, being able to do a headstand or nailing an arm balance, are just happy by-products.”
About The Yoga School
Founded in 2016, The Yoga School is a boutique yoga studio located on the 39th floor of OCBC Centre (65 Chulia Street). With breathtaking views of Singapore’s iconic skyline, the studio is a sanctuary in the sky for those who want to experience all aspects of yoga within themselves. Designed to be a welcoming space for anyone who is curious about yoga and passionate about learning, or simply wants to breathe within the bustle of daily life, The Yoga School offers over 30 classes a week including Begin, Flow, Iyengar Yoga, Yin and, now, Pilates mat classes.
PUNAM RAI, Kundalini Kriya Yoga instructor, specialising in Pranayama, Yoga Nidra and meditation
“After years as an active mum, athlete, taekwondo practitioner and gym instructor, I realised there was more to life than pounding the track, punching and kicking sandbags, and pushing weights. I was facing anger and weight issues; fiery hormones despite my punishing routine; frustrations stemming from having to deal with career, family and life’s never-ending journey; the mind racing at a zillion miles, never resting. That’s when I decided to try Vinyasa Yoga, a type of practice involving continuous movement linked with the breath. It was during one of these sessions that I had a profound moment of stillness – a “no-mind state”. Then and there it dawned on me what yoga was all about. It had me hooked – and it made me leaner, calmer and healthier in mind and body.
I love teaching yoga for the same reasons I love practising it – sharing the healing and transformation that I experienced in my own practise. Amazed at the changes within myself, I’m now teaching Kundalini Kriya yoga, Chakra cleansing and sound healing. A nine-to-five job it is not; but it gets me out of bed and out there, enthused and brimming with confidence to help anyone who is seeking any form of transformation and healing.
After a long stint at another studio, I’ve now joined Veda Yoga and I love the small class setting where I’m able to build true and close connections with my students and clients.”
CAROLINE LEE, Yoga instructor at Veda Yoga
“It’s been 15 years since my first yoga class. I still feel the same sense of anticipation stepping on to the yoga mat today as I did when I was a beginner. This is my seventh year of teaching and counting!
Yoga gives me a satisfaction that goes way beyond physical exercise; what’s more, it’s a continual journey of self-discovery and growth.
I love that yoga is inclusive, as it’s suitable for all, regardless of one’s level of physical ability; I have even taught cancer survivors in wheelchairs and grandmothers in their eighties! Sharing my love for yoga and watching the glow of contentment on the participants’ faces after class continues to motivate me.
I enjoy teaching at Veda Yoga and feel very aligned to its philosophy, that yoga should be accessible to anyone looking for a lifestyle that is holistic, with a focus on the wellbeing of the mind, body and spirit. It should be a safe practice without any pain, injury or stress. Otherwise, we have missed the point of yoga completely.”
About Veda Yoga
Designed as a platform for fitness, nutrition and natural beauty, Veda Yoga focuses on delivering a holistic journey for the body and mind with over 10 different yoga classes – Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, Kundalini, Yin and others – meditation experiences and special workshops, as well as personalised juice detox plans, and natural skincare and wellness solutions.
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