Your gym is offering yoga and Pilates classes. Right now, you can only do one, so you need to choose between them. The big question is which one will be right for you. Which option will be better for your body?
Before you can answer the questions, you need to understand the difference between the two. It is important to understand how they differ and look after your body to determine the best one to do. Then you can consider all the pros and cons for your wants and needs to find the one that offers as much as possible.
Here is a look at all you need to know about yoga and Pilates to help make your choice.
Is There Really A Difference?
It can initially seem like there is not actually that much of a difference between the two. Well, put simple yoga is an Eastern exercise, while Pilates is Western. Sure, there are plenty of western companies including yoga into their practice, but its basis comes from Eastern practices. This can affect your choice, depending on the culture you want to focus on.
While both systems build on your flexibility and strength, only one of those builds on your spirituality and inner strength. The other is mostly on the physical aspect of your being. This again is linked to the Eastern/Western debate.
So, which one’s which? Well, you may not be surprised to hear that yoga is based on the Eastern practices and Pilates is a westernized version of it.
The Basics Of Yoga
Yoga involves the idea of moving the energy throughout your body. This directly affects the way you move throughout the exercises and the way you connect to every part of your body. While the main physical goal in yoga is on your strength and flexibility, there is the emotional and spiritual goal of becoming one with yourself.
Those who do yoga often describe the way they feel calmer and more in control through the day. They can incorporate some of the breathing techniques from their exercises to help calm their mind when faced with stressful situations. Their bodies are not the only elements improved and affected.
Yoga helps to develop the posture and breathing. It supports the alignment of the spine while reducing physical, mental, and emotional tension within the body. You become more in-tune with who you are as a person.
It is also an exercise that can be done anywhere. There is no need for music or for the total piece. You can bring your mind back to your body. All you need is a yoga mat and possibly a block and strap for support. You can take them to the beach, do it at home, or do it all in a class. Getting an instructor first is good for understanding all the positions, but eventually, you can get a routine that works for you in your own home.
The spirituality of yoga can often be overlooked, but it is a crucial part of the exercise. Within this element, you never truly become one with yourself.
Yoga is one of the oldest forms of exercise in the world. It is excellent for improving relaxation and breathing and can also help to improve your exercise and positive thinking. There are even studies that show it helps to improve your digestive system and diet, helping you lose weight and be more in-tune with the food you eat.
There is an element of mindfulness with yoga practice. You listen to your body more and can help to reduce your portion sizes and react better to negative situations. There are some studies that show yoga is beneficial for mental illnesses, some autoimmune conditions, and some physical health problems, including high blood pressure and type II diabetes.
Yoga is a general term, but there are actually different types available. Some are more restorative, while others are more energetic and powerful. You’ll need to understand all the different options to find the best option for you.
The Basics Of Pilates
Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates, to help post-WWI soldiers with recovery. While its basis the initial steps on yoga, it is a western form of exercise that involves specific movements and exercise done with very specified equipment.
Most Pilates exercises focus on strengthening the core muscles. These are muscles most routine overlooked but control almost everything in your body. They are essential for back strength and alignment, for leg strength, and for comfort. The muscles sit around the spine and deep into the abdomen and are used for almost everything you do. Working on them will affect everything in your daily life.
Like yoga, one of the main focuses of Pilates is on your posture. The focus is on improving your balance and grace, but that’s about as much as it has in common with the Eastern practice. Pilates is more like weight training. It involves working against resistance through springs and elastic bands to improve physical strength. There is no focus on the spiritual element of yoga.
Unlike weight training, Pilates does not encourage the shortening of muscles. You get to keep the length and height, while building strength. There is little in the way of bulk added, making you lean and trim. This is a similarity with yoga.
Through Pilates, you can improve your muscle endurance and strength. Posture and flexibility are also improved, which can help to reduce pain in the joint. Therefore, it is often considered by those with arthritis and has shown good results. In some cases, it has improved back pain and urinary incontinence, due to the strengthening of the core muscles.
The Similarities Between The Two
Before focusing on the main differences side by side and finding the best one for you, it is worth focusing on some of the similarities. These similarities help the body—both physically and mentally—in ways that make both extremely worthwhile considerations for the health.
They both require minimal equipment. A mat is one of the most crucial elements of comfort. A block, ring, and some elastic resistance bands are also beneficial in both exercises. You can do the exercises anywhere. This can help you save money since you do not always need the instruction from a class. There is no need to worry about how other people think or whether the instructor can or cannot make the class. You can also get out and enjoy the good weather since there is no need for specialist equipment or music.
Both exercises also focus on the breathing. There is a slight different with how, but they both help to improve breathing from the diaphragm, which means you get more air into the body. Improving the breathing will help to add more oxygen to the body and improve the overall health. You do not feel as fatigued and you can improve the mental mindset.
The two exercises are also extremely good for stress. Both require some type of mental focus, although through slightly different ways. The improved mental focus helps you to clear your mind and reduce the stress levels within the body. Plus, the physical activity helps to get rid of stress and improve the happy hormones.
All fitness levels can carry out either type of exercise. There is no need to have a specific skill and you certainly do not need a specific strength level. There are classes for all stages. You will just need to find the right class for you if you are just getting started. Most instructors will be able to offer a starter and advanced positions for every exercise they do, making sure you avoid injuring yourself.
Which Type Of Exercise Is Best For You?
Now it is time to choose between the two. Both are excellent workouts and do gel together well, but if you can only do one you need to think about what you want to gain.
For those who are struggling with physical ailments that are linked to the core strength, Pilates can be the best choice. The focus of the workouts is within the core. As you improve your strength here, your posture will be improved, and you have more flexibility. You will find there is less pressure on your joints and the misalignment disappears to remove pressure from your neck and head. Headaches, back pain, and arthritis can all be removed.
Pilates is often recommended for older adults and those recovering from injury. It is extremely minimal impact and involves small and easier movements of the body. The joints do not feel the pressure while going from one exercise to the other, and the equipment helps to strengthen other muscles as well as the core.
There are some equipment-based workouts. People can feel the exercises working the muscles more at once, which can give them the mental feeling of getting a workout. This can sometimes lead to people putting in more effort and feeling more positive about their workouts.
The downside is the challenging element of mat Pilates. It can be hard to get onto the ground, so you will need to find other forms of the exercise. Luckily there are excellent variations to do.
Yoga is one of the easiest options for changing. It does not just improve the strength of the physical body, but also in the mental body. It can also improve the flexibility within all the joints, easing pain and discomfort. It is possible to remove chronic pain problems while improving the physical strength.
It is essential to get the right type of yoga for your abilities. Joining in with an advanced class as a beginning can lead to more injuries as you try to twist and contort your body in a way that it is unfamiliar with and not ready for.
The great news is that there is a yoga for everyone. Restorative yoga can help to boost your energy levels and improve the health of your muscles. You can do chair yoga if you find it difficult to get onto the floor. There are higher energy forms of yoga to help feel like you are getting a workout. Hot yoga can help you sweat more, improving a detox process.
Positions help to work on specific parts of the body. You can choose the upper back one day and then focus on the hips and legs the next. There is no need to do all the same positions repeatedly, so there is a lower chance of getting bored.
Plus, yoga has the mental benefits. There is more focus on becoming one with yourself. This is not just a physical exercise, but a way to focus more on your breathing and improve the way you feel mentally. Those with negative outlooks on life can improve the way they think and feel daily. It can help to reduce the stress, as you focus more on the positives in your life. Yoga is often excellent mixed with some meditation for an all-around mental experience in your exercise.
Getting A Mixture Of Both Is Beneficial
It is not always possible to pit yoga and Pilates against each other. While they initially look like similar entities, they are both actually very different. They offer different benefits to the body. If you want more focus on your spiritual self, then yoga is the one to go for. However, if all your focus is on your physical self, you will be able to get the benefits from either option.
You can improve your core strength in both while improving flexibility and posture. It is possible to learn more about your limitations and boost your mental mindset through either exercise. When you mix and match between the two throughout the week, you get a well-rounded form of exercise. It is possible to connect with your body more in everything that you do.
Pilates can draw you in, but yoga can open you up. Think of them as a yin-yang of exercise. They will offer you everything you need within a week.