Yoga and Pilates are hot these days and the number of people who are doing Yoga and Pilates for improved fitness and weight loss is growing. This article explains what Yoga and Pilates are all about, and explores the differences and similarities between them, making it easier for you to decide which one can help you to achieve your goals and fit in with your current level of fitness and lifestyle.
Similarities between Yoga and Pilates
Both Yoga and Pilates are considered to be mind-body exercises. What all mind-body exercises have in common is that they require the right balance of mindfulness, correct postures and concentrated breathing to enjoy all the benefits they have to offer.
Yoga and Pilates both involve “mindful movement”. Unlike walking or jogging, where our movement is automatic, practicing Yoga and Pilates requires us to be totally focused on what our body and muscles are doing. Correct postures are very important to both styles and getting these postures correct takes time and practice.
Differences between Yoga and Pilates
Primarily, Yoga tries to provide an integrated approach towards objective and transcendental knowledge. Stronger muscles, stress relief and improved circulation are essentially by-products of practicing Yoga.
Pilates on the other hand, primarily tries to strengthen the core stability muscles of our body to improve the way we function in our daily lives.
Yoga exercises themselves are typically static poses that are held for a period of time, for example one minute each. Because it involves poses that challenge the whole body, Yoga tends to exercise almost every muscle in the body while Pilates simply tries to exercise the deep core stabilizer muscles around our stomach and hips. A very important part of Yoga is the deep breathing that is done while holding each pose and while transitioning from one pose to the next.
Breathing is also a very important part of performing Pilates exercises, but Pilates exercises are not all static poses, mainly they are movements which are done for a certain number of repetitions.
Another difference between the breathing of Yoga and Pilates is that in Yoga, you use your nose to inhale and exhale while in Pilates, you inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
Finally, Yoga classes often use music and sometimes integrate chanting or affirmations, which are designed to address the meditative side of the practice. Pilates classes on the other hand are usually done in very quiet environments where music, talk and other distractions are kept to a minimum.
Remember, no single training system can give our body all the types of conditioning it needs. The best recommendation is to try everything and to regularly mix up your exercises. Ultimately, what works best for some individuals may not work with you and vice versa. At Optimum Health Solutions we can help to identify the best forms of exercise based on your individuals needs and considerations, helping you to live life to the fullest!