Yoga vs. Pilates: Which One Is Best for You?
It’s fair to say many people think Yoga and Pilates are fairly similar, (and at a glance they do look rather alike) however, they both focus on developing different parts of the body. In short: Yoga focuses on improving flexibility, and overtime it gradually increases the flexibility of the joints with the incorporation of spiritual practices (such as meditation and grounding techniques). Pilates looks more at relaxing tense muscles and strengthening the weaker ones through six principles: concentration, control, center, flow, precision and breathing.
Yoga unites the mind, body and spirit; synchronising your entirety to help you conquer anything! It’s brilliant for improving stamina and strength, but what separates it from Pilates (and many other exercises) is that it is a mental practice. Engaging the mind in the process enables you to go deeper and transcend into peace. Many think Yoga is religious, (it did originate from religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism) however it has been incorporated into Western fitness for its mental and physical health benefits. The word Yoga means to join or unite; uniting the mind with the body or connecting to a spiritual force.
Yoga is beneficial if:
- You are suffering with stress, insomnia or mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. It’s also beneficial if you want to improve your overall mental health.
- You are suffering with addiction – Yoga is a successful placebo replacement. It is also used for rehabilitation (therefore people struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction or eating disorders would benefit).
- You wish to improve your balance, flexibility and posture.
- You want to recalibrate your breathing patterns – highly beneficial to people with asthma and allergies.
Originally called Contrology, Pilates is an exercise focused on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength to improve general fitness and wellbeing. Pilates can be modified for a gentle strength training program or a challenging workout if you’re up to it. It focuses on spinal stability, and unlike Yoga – which uses no apparatus, Pilates incorporates equipment such as: the Reformer, Cadillac and Wunda Chair. (Although it isn’t as practical if you choose to use the equipment), including them in your workout will speed up the process if you are wanting to see physical changes in your body through toning and weight loss etc.
Pilates are beneficial if:
- You want to tone up – Pilates poses are a lot more intense, therefore you will achieve results faster.
- You are in need of rehabilitation – Pilates focuses on moving from a stable centre and implementing movement patterns which is widely used to rehabilitate.
- You are injured (suffering with back pain for example) – due to the focus on moving from a stable centre, deep abdominal and spinal muscles are activated.
- You want to lose weight. It is not the most effective method of weight loss, however it does aid the process. To make Pilates more intense, we suggest you incorporate resistance, or add a Pilates machine into your workout to add cardio elements.
Both Yoga and Pilates are incredibly good for the mind, body, soul and they improve your strength, balance, posture and flexibility. Ultimately they are fairly similar activities, and their benefits do coincide with each other, but it is down to the participant to see which one is more beneficial to them.
So, time for the big question… Are you team Yoga or team Pilates? We suggest you try both to see which one is right for you! Come in and try out our Yoga and Pilates classes.
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