Yoga vs. Pilates: How to Choose the Right Workout For You
Yoga and pilates, both seem like similar forms of the same workout, so how can you be sure which one is best for you? Each of these workout types have improved over the years to involve a wide range of variations that appeal to different people at all levels of fitness. There is also a lot of misinformation floating around that can confuse people when they are looking for information or to start a new exercise regimen or weight loss workout.
In the field of wellness, there are two sides of the fence, those who feel that yoga offers the best mind-body workout, and those that swear up and down that pilates is the best option for mind-body routines. True fitness gurus, on the other hand, will tell you that both are geared towards strengthening and lengthening the body.
In actuality, both forms of exercise offer the user similar results, and their forms are also complementary. In general, pilates focuses a lot on toning while yoga focuses more on flexibility, but both forms require a great deal of core strength and flexibility to be effective. It is difficult to compare the two because as individual forms, they are extremely well rounded.
Choosing The Best Exercise For Your Lifestyle
Pilates and yoga both are very intricate exercise styles that involve the whole body and the mind. As such, it’s important to test several classes of each to find which style and type fit you the best. Yoga has many different forms such as Kundalini, Hatha, Ashtanga among others, and pilates has many variations which depend on the speed of the class and the environment in which it’s taught such as on a mat or on a machine
Yoga and pilates both place an intense focus on flexibility, balance, strength , alignment, and breathing. You must be actively involved in each for the best results, and achieving those results generally requires that you engage your whole body.
The practice of pilates focuses on moves that are done on the ground. The emphasis is placed on training your core for strength and endurance. Core training is typically completed in numerous short reps targeting certain areas of the body. Pilates is a low impact form of exercise utilizes the weight of your body as resistance to strengthen your core and build tone.
created the exercise near the end of WWI, it was intended as a form of rehab for soldiers who returned from the war with debilitating wounds. After spending years perfecting it, he introduced the method in the United States in 1923.
Pilates helps to build the core by starting each movement with a controlled breath. This breath starts a contraction of the muscles in the core which leads to a marked improvement in strength and control over time. Pilates can be performed with or without equipment depending on your fitness and experience level.
Pilates can help:
Decrease joint pain
Improve endurance and muscle strength
Help improve posture and flexibility
The art of yoga is mainly practiced in an upright position for the majority of the workout. Other styles of yoga explore different positions, but the main study of the art focuses on balance, flexibility and stretching your core. Yoga is a low impact form of exercise that allows you to use your bodyweight to gain strength, balance, and flexibility.
The true origins of yoga have been lost in time, but the art has been around for more than three thousand years. It has roots in several religions and its focus centers on the diet, breathing, exercise, relaxation, and meditation. In yoga, the main focus is on deep breathing and mindfulness, this allows for a deep connection between the mind and the body which will lead to improved balance and flexibility over time.
Yoga can help:
Reduce anxiety & depression
Ease multiple sclerosis symptoms
Soothe arthritis pain
Reduce high blood pressure
Manage chronic pain
Those who choose to take both classes will notice that you have a stronger core, better balance, and an amazing amount of flexibility. As with any exercise, there comes a point where your returns start to diminish, taking both allow you to create a balance that supports whole body wellness. Both forms can be performed with nothing more than a mat and your own body weight.
Diaphragmatic breathing and mental focus are used in both to reduce stress and form a connection with your body and your mind.
Pilates vs. Yoga: Which is right for me?
At the end of the day, both offer great workouts for every skill level. If you are dealing with health issues, you may want to speak with a healthcare professional before choosing between the two.
In general yoga requires mobility and flexibility in the joints, wrist, and spine. Though poses can be modified in most cases, those who have extreme limitations or those who have serious joint pain may find advanced Yoga courses more difficult to master. There are several yoga styles available if you would like to explore yoga, choosing a style that fits your body and your fitness level is important.
On the other hand, pilates is a great exercise aimed at people with disabilities, injuries and other health issues. Just like yoga, there are many forms of pilates available that target different health issues, fitness goals and age ranges. Pilates does require specialized equipment for many of the classes and programs available at your local gym. Though pilates is intended for people with limitations, the exercises can be modified according to a person’s fitness level or disability. If you would like to explore pilates, choosing a class and styles that fit your body and your health level is key to avoid injury.
What’s Your Choice?
Choosing an exercise program is a decision that will be influenced by the results you want to achieve. Our guide is aimed at providing you with information on both yoga and pilates so that you can make an informed choice. Both options will help you get healthy and improving your quality of life, though both do have differences to consider. Always speak with your doctor prior to starting any new routine if you have health issues to consider.