01 Apr Yoga Or Pilates? Which Is Right For You?
Do you know the difference between yoga and Pilates?
If you don’t you’re not alone…
Most people struggle to tell the two apart but it is important to know and understand their differences.
Which one is right for you?
Yoga is based on ancient Indian philosophy that dates back thousands of years. Unlike Pilates it was not actually designed to be a work out routine…
Classic yoga techniques were created to bring the body and mind together to find spiritual enlightenment. Yoga is a good choice if you need time to relax and to look after your body.
Research has shown that Yoga is one of the best forms of stress relief…
Modern yoga is built on three main elements – exercise, breathing and meditation.
The physical aspects of yoga create a popular exercise routine. The static poses (or asanas) are very gentle on the muscles and help to stretch out tensions. The stretches put pressure on certain glands and muscles. This increases blood flow and helps your body to be more efficient.
Physically yoga is very good for building muscle tone and improving flexibility.
In yoga you always remain still and focus closely on your breathing. Each asana is held for a period of time while you control your breathing and relax your mind. Breath control exercises (or pranayama) are vital for preparing the mind and body for meditation.
Meditation plays a huge role in Yoga. The physical exercises and breathing techniques are combined to quiet the mind and shut out distractions.
Yoga requires a lot of mental focus and a wiliness to switch off from stress.
There are many different types of yoga to suit all needs. Each yoga classes contains different types of asanas which help different areas of the body.
Pilates was designed to help athletes maintain their physical fitness whilst overcoming injuries. It’s a great choice if you are recovering from a muscle strain or have existing health problems.
The main focus of Pilates is to strengthen muscles and improve posture. The aim is to lengthen and stretch muscles groups. This improves strength, balance and coordination.
Pilates is more physical than yoga. You are always moving through stretches and building muscle strength.
Pilates is a great choice if you are weight training or building up your fitness levels.
Pilates requires a lot of concentration. Each exercise has a specific stance, rhythm and breathing pattern. Unlike yoga the breathing exercises are designed more to concentrate the mind than for meditation. It is important to find your centre point of movement and control your balance.
The Pilates method is very adaptable…
The sets of exercises can be changed to suit each person. Classes are regularly evaluated to make sure everybody is getting the most from their sessions. For the best results you should try a course of Pilates rather than singular classes…
Pilates can suit everybody from top athletes to people with limited movements and low fitness levels. It is also a very popular choice for pregnant women as it is not too physically draining and instructors can tailor exercise sets to incorporate a bump!
There are two forms of Pilates:
Mat-based Pilates –
Where you use gravity and your own body weight to provide resistance as you work through a series of exercises. The main aim is to condition the deeper, supporting muscles of your body to improve posture, balance and coordination
Equipment-based Pilates –
Which uses professional equipment to provide resistance. This is great if you are looking to tone up as resistance can be adjusted as you progress through your work out plan. The main aim of equipment based Pilates is to build muscle strength.
Often people dumb it down and say yoga is more for the mind whereas Pilates is more for the body…
However this isn’t always true for every individual….
Here at Yoga Harmony we teach yoga as a physical exercise. Our goal is to use physical exercise to train the mind for overcoming challenges and to remain calm and steady.
Pilates may be intended as a muscle work out but that is no reason to be intimidated. At Yoga Harmony we always try to keep students within their comfort levels, so there is always an element of calm to our Pilates classes.
The best thing about both yoga and Pilates is you experience your own benefits. Both allow you the freedom to fix and nourish your own body….
The only way to tell which is best for you is to try both and decide yourself…
What are your favourite things about yoga and Pilates? Let us know your experiences in the comments below…