Yoga Vs. Pilates – Which one wins for you?

If you are considering adding something new to your exercise regime, you might want to consider taking up yoga or Pilates. This article will examine the differences between yoga vs. Pilates, so you can decide which one you would like to have a go at first.

Both of these activities can be good for developing your physical health, and they can also be excellent stress-busters. These two activities can work well in combination, but most of us will not have the time or motivation to take up them both.

What is Yoga?

Pilates and yogaYoga is an old Indian word, which can be translated as meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. It refers to a number of practices that are not only designed to improve physical health, but also lead to greater mental and spiritual well being. There are different types of yoga, and some of these practices are believed to date back thousands of years. The system that is most well known in western countries involves holding physical postures. The different poses that make up this type of yoga are collectively referred to as the asanas. For a more comprehensive introduction to Yoga check out this article published earlier on this site – http://beingfitandhealthyrocks.com/yoga-relaxation-and-toning-what-more-could-you-want

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is very popular, and there are many reasons for why people will choose to engage in this activity. Some of these include such things as:

  • The practice can lead to improved flexibility and strength
  • Yoga can lead to improved body alignment
  • It can help people relax
  • Practitioners often feel that it helps them deal with stress
  • It can lead to an improved sense of well-being
  • There are claims that yoga can help reduce the symptoms of mild depression
  • The postures may help to improve blood circulation
  • It can be a spiritual practice and a lifelong path
  • Many yoga practitioners view it as a type of meditation
  • Improved balance
  • Improved digestion
  • It may have a modest effect in helping people control their body weight
  • Yoga can work every muscle in the body
  • It strengthens joints
  • Practitioners can find that it improves their self-confidence and body image

What is Pilates?

yoga vs. pilatesPilates is a body conditioning routine that was developed during the first half of the twentieth century by Joseph Pilates. He believed that physical and mental health are both closely related. To this end he developed a system of exercises with the intention of strengthening both the body and mind. Many of the Pilates exercises can be performed on a mat, but there is also a range of devices that practitioners can use such as the trapeze table, the spine corrector, and the Wunda chair. All of the exercises are based on the idea of performing controlled movements while maintaining a strong core in the body. Have a look here for reviews, pricing and equipment for practicing pilates.

Benefits of Pilates

The benefits of Pilates would include:

  • Improved strength and coordination
  • Improved digestion
  • Improved core strength
  • Better pelvic and shoulder stability
  • Improved circulation
  • It will increase bone density
  • This exercise can help to tone the body
  • It may lead to a flatter abdomen
  • Reports show that it can help to improve the symptoms of back pain (it is always recommended to speak to a doctor before starting a new type of exercise regime)
  • Improved posture and body alignment
  • Improved mobility in the joints
  • It can help practitioners feel that they are better able to handle stress
  • Improved self-confidence and positive body image

Yoga Vs. Pilates – The Similarities

There are many similarities between yoga and Pilates. Both of these activities can increase your flexibility, balance, and coordination. The two practices can also be good for promoting relaxation and helping practitioners deal better with stress. Many of the movements used in Pilates are similar to yoga postures, but this is hardly surprising as Joseph Pilates was inspired by this ancient exercise regime from India. Another way that these two activities are similar is that they can both involve exercises that can be performed on a mat.

Yoga Vs. Pilates – The Differences

There are some important differences between these two activities including:

  • Yoga is more of a spiritual practice than Pilates – many practitioners view it as a path to enlightenment.
  • Pilates has more of a focus on the body and physical fitness
  • Yoga is better for increasing flexibility and the practitioners range of motion
  • When people first begin learn Pilates the main focus will be on building up abdominal strength as all the movements need to come from a strong core.
  • Yoga has more of a focus on the breath when moving into different postures.
  • The majority of exercises in Pilates are performed while lying down.
  • Yoga classes tend to be longer that Pilates minutes
  • Pilates is better at teaching students how to control their own posture

Yoga or Pilates – Which is better for you?

It would be wrong to say that yoga is better than Pilates – or vice versa. The best we can hope for is to decide on which one is the best for us. If you are more concerned with getting in good physical shape, the better option would be Pilates. If you want a holistic practice that will benefit you mentally, physically, and spiritually, then the better option would be yoga. It is usually possible to attend an introduction lesson for free, so a good option might be for you to try both classes to see which one you prefer.

Final words on Pilates and Yoga

If you do have the time, it can be a great idea to combine Pilates and Yoga – perhaps you could go to one session of each every week. This option means that you will be getting the benefits of both of these practices, as they complement each other really well. The other benefit of doing both Pilates and Yoga is that there will be less chance of you becoming bored with either one.

Both yoga and Pilates can be done at home. Have a look here for reviews, pricing and equipment for practicing pilates and here for Yoga equipment and DVD's pricing and reviews.

Whichever you chose I hope the information in this article has helped you. Let us know in the comments below who won the Yoga Vs. Pilates battle for you and why that was.

Related articles on Yoga Vs. Pilates

Pilates Image By J. Vílchez (Producciones ISED) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Yoga Image By Kennguru (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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