I first started teaching yoga in 1997 in studios and in gyms. Many gyms would ask me to sub Pilates classes, thinking that yoga and Pilates must be one and the same. Even though both are mind/body disciplines, they are completely different methods but can complement each other quite well. I made sure to get my Pilates certification so I could teach both disciplines.
Joseph Pilates brought his method of core conditioning and body contrology to America in the 1920s. The equipment he invented and mat work exercises are all designed to help strengthen the "powerhouse" as he refers to the torso region, deep abdominals, and everything from the hips and buttocks up to the shoulders.
Whether you ever take a Pilates class or not, the one move everyone could benefit from is the Pilates push-up. What I love so much about Joe's push-up variation is the addition of flexibility and shoulder stability that comes with a traditional push-up.
If you added any exercise to your routine, this would be the one I would recommend. It helps yogis get stronger, works every part of the body, and sculpts and tones the hips, thighs, buttocks, abs and arms, and it feels amazing! You can do these anywhere and bang a few out every morning over the holidays to stay in tiptop shape and stress-free.
Here's how to do it. Keep in mind that you can add on additional reps each time you come out to plank or just do single reps. I personally like to do a ladder and start with one push-up then work up to five push-ups and then work my way back down.
To start, stand at the back of your mat with your feet in a Pilates V stance (heels together, toes slightly turned out).
Roll down through your spine feeling a stretch in the back and hamstrings.
Once the hands touch the floor, start walking out to a plank position.
Steady yourself in plank pose.
From plank pose, lower down in to a push-up "chaturanga" style with the elbows skimming the body, not going out at the sides. Press back up to plank, walk back to your feet, roll up to stand, and start all over again.