Are Yoga People Mellow and Pilates People Uptight?

I was thinking about a comment my girlfriend said the other day.  She’s a Pilates instructor and I’m a yoga instructor, contrasting the two personalities she said: ” Yoga people are mellow and Pilates people are uptight.”   But after thinking about it and looking at some of my students I noticed that people who do yoga, do it because they want to get rid of stress, anxiety and “Tightness.”  I’ve met some of the most uptight yoga students in the world who speak a mile a minute, who plan their Holidays 9 months ahead of time, who worry that there is satellite destined to enter earths atmosphere and it may very well hit them. Thing is, they all have one thing in common, “They do yoga because it mellows them out.”

Granted a majority of yogis are more mellow people, but are they mellow because they are inherently mellow or are they mellow because they do so much yoga?

Personally if I don’t exercise and yoga before 12 noon everyday I’ll explode like a bomb.  Not literally,  but figuratively speaking my anger level goes up and I get pretty dam uptight.   So I do some form of exercise like a full yoga class, weight training at my gym, sprints up Mt. Soledad, rollerblade up and down hills in La Jolla or surfing.  If I’m not doing a full yoga class I will add in yoga before and after every exercise session and sure enough I’m mellow, grounded and focused again.

So why does yoga mellow people out so much?
Tense muscles lead to tense minds.  With yoga we stretch our tense muscles and inhale  large quantities of oxygen through the nose, which plays a big role in lowering the heart rate & blood pressure and calming the mind.  As the oxygen travels in through your nose as opposed to your mouth it travels primarily to the lower lobes of your lungs where your “parasympathetic” nervous system is highly concentrated.  The parasympathetic is opposite of the “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous system and clams and relaxes muscles and your mind.

Also, if your in the presence of a good teacher they will guide you through a practice that reaches beyond the physical into the spiritual realm, which can add more mellowness through  comments and cues like: “The only one you can compare yourself with is yourself,” or “let go of the past its history,” which can create the added dimensions of “grounding” and “security”.

These traits of yoga are not exclusive to yoga and over time if a student in yoga or pilates is emptying their mind of toxic thoughts, patterns and emotions and replacing them with empowering ones, they will eventually become more mellow people.  Not to sound neutral, but a combination of both gets me a rock hard core and a mellow constitution which I can use every day to pave my way to success and inspire others.

Stay tuned for the launch of “The Feel Good Music Project”  from Chad Scott, guaranteed to make you feel fantastically phenomenal.

-Chad Scott