Yoga and Pilates are very popular these days, but which one is better for someone just starting to exercise? Both systems have their advantages and provide an excellent exercise, but they do have some very distinct differences. Both Pilates and Yoga create results not as visible as let say lifting weights or squatting.
But Yoga and Pilates will lead to better posture, fewer aches and pains, greater confidence, and a cheerier outlook on life. And that’s because stretching increases your blood flow and circulation for a healthier body and sends oxygen to your brain for a clearer mind and sunnier moods.
Most people do not move they sit at a desk, in a car, at the kitchen table and a evening with the television. All of us have 164 moving joints in the body. Most of us only move around 50-60 a day, meaning around 100 joints are not moving daily which makes the tendons and muscles deteriorate and become weak this is where most people get an injury. Also, being stale the joints lose the lubrication and dry up. When we do a lot of sitting, it is tough on our bodies, especially on the glutes and the nerves that activate your glute. These nerves can shut down in a very short period of time. If the glute muscle begins the process of atrophy from repetitive sitting, the glute muscle begins to degenerate (not in a good way). When your glutes shut down, other muscles and joints in your body become over-stressed and can result in pain in places such as the knees and lower back. One of the main differences between Yoga and Pilates is that Yoga can be used for improving the flexibility of the body and it will also gradually increase the flexibility of your joints. Whereas Pilates focuses on trying to relax muscles which are tense and provide strengthening of the numerous muscles of the body.
Pilates is a much younger practice, beginning in the mid-20th century by an athlete named Joseph Pilates. He created the exercises as a form of rehabilitation and strengthening. But dance is what made Pilates really popular. Dancers around the world began modifying and utilizing the practice to help them become stronger in their training and performance.
Both Yoga and Pilates bring an understanding that the mind and body are connected. However, Yoga adds an additional element the spirit. Exploring spirituality is a huge part of yoga practice, especially through meditation. While Pilates focuses on creating an understanding that the mind and body are connected and how this can help in everyday life, yoga focuses on the mind/body/spirit connection.
Many Yoga classes are flexible in routine. Postures, sequences and variations can be combined into tens of thousands of routines to create a class. So it will be up to the style of Yoga you practice and the teacher guiding you to decide what’s on the agenda. There are some styles of Yoga that have more of a set plan, such as Ashtanga and Bikram.
Pilate classes are a little more structured. Because of this, you will more likely know what to expect when you walk into the door of a Pilate class than in a Yoga class.
Another element that is often (but not always) brought into a Yoga class is meditation. Many Yoga classes use a chant or meditation to bring in the focus and dedication at the beginning, and to seal in and appreciate the benefits of the practice at the end.
In both practices, you will gain strength and flexibility. Pilates classes offer a total body workout but focus on aligning the spine and strengthening the core. The exercises done in Pilates classes almost always involve regimented movements to gain core and spine strength. Some classes and one-on-one sessions use machines to gain strength, while others keep you on the mat and use your body’s resistance to build results.
In a yoga class, you will work out every muscle in your body equally. Each posture is accompanied by a counter-posture to ensure you create balance in your body. While core-strength is definitely an important element in yoga, it is more of a piece of Yoga, rather than the entire focus.
Both are excellent for weight loss, back pain, depression and anxiety. But if you are certain you want your practice to be spiritual and are looking to manage your stress, Yoga may be the better option for you. If your priority is to focus on your back and core, Pilates may be a better fit.
If you don’t know where to start, try them both. If you are leaning towards one or the other, try them both anyway. That’s the only way to really know which practice you will enjoy and benefit from most.