Keep Yourself Fit with Yoga and Pilates

While Pilates and yoga are increasing in popularity, they have existed for quite some time now. Both Pilates as well as yoga can be performed in your home or in a group setting. They concentrate on establishing proper technique and form and creating a body-mind connection.

The breathing techniques are considered important during the workouts. Pilates and yoga consist of a variety of positions or poses with the body used as resistance.


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Choosing the Right Pilates Workout

Yoga is an ancient practice that goes back to 5,000 to 8,000 years. The yogic lifestyle combined the spirit, mind and body. The postures were created by observing the behavior of animals. Pilates came about more recently. The poses were developed by Joseph Pilates for the purpose of strengthening the body.

Pilates and yoga poses

The foundation of the Pilates poses is core strength. The core muscles are the internal muscles of the back and abdomen. When the muscles of the core are strong and performing well, they work along with the superficial muscles of the trunk to provide support to movement and the spine. As the core strength is developed, you will achieve stability throughout your torso. There are six principles in Pilates. These are concentration, precision, breath, flow, control, and centering. These principles are important ingredients in a good Pilates’ workout. Some of the Pilates exercises include head and chest float, hip circles, kneeling side kick, leg circles, oblique rollups, single leg kicks, straight leg stretch and thigh lift.

Yoga and Pilates exercises are very similar in certain aspects one of which is the mind-body disciplines. They both aim at uniting the mind and body, so that awareness is enhanced and the quality of life of the practitioner is elevated. This intent of bringing the mind and body together is expressed more in yoga than in Pilates. In yoga, there is an extensive amount of meditative disciplines connected with the breath. There are various techniques of breathing that are used during the yoga poses. In Pilates, lateral breathing, deep breathing, and coordinating the movement with breath are the main breathing practices. Breathing is recognized in Pilates as detoxifying, rejuvenating, and a means to enhance awareness just like in yoga.

Yoga and Pilates exercises are synchronized with breathing. Yoga exercises are usually maintained for five breaths.

Pilates exercises are performed continually with repetitions. Yoga and Pilates workouts are both efficient and focus on getting the maximum benefits in the minimum time. The aim is to feel energized, not exhausted after a workout.

Benefits of Pilates and Yoga

Yoga and Pilates deal with both the mental and physical aspects of pain with relaxation, flexibility and core strengthening. One of the most obvious benefits of Pilates and Yoga is increased flexibility and muscular strength. By contracting your muscles repeatedly, the ability to produce force to surmount the resistance will be increased. You will also be able to maintain the poses for a longer duration of time. By repeatedly elongating and stretching your muscles, you will increase the range of motion of your joints. You can go deeper into the poses and fine tune your techniques. The control of your muscles will also be improved, which increases the benefits further. Other benefits include increased lung capacity from deep breathing. Pilates and yoga exercises also make the body more flexible and stronger and can improve the skeletal posture and alignment.

Some of the yoga benefits include:

  • Improved postural and muscular strength
  • Increased flexibility of joints and muscles
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Reduced muscle stiffness and pain
  • Enhanced concentration
  • Increased levels of energy and ability to manage stress

Some of the Pilates health benefits include:

  • Improved muscle tone and strength
  • Increased strength and flexibility of back and abdominals
  • Increased circulation and lung capacity through deep breathing
  • Improved concentration
  • Increased awareness of the body
  • Relaxation and stress management

Difference between Pilates and yoga

One of the main differences between Pilates and yoga happens to be the focus and aim of the exercises. Pilates are exercises mainly directed mainly toward the development of the core strength as also the efficient movements that are part of our everyday living. Yoga poses also help in the development of core strength; however, yoga is more flexibility and stretch oriented. This makes it more focused on consciousness through movement. Yoga is also used often as an alternative therapy for treating and managing various lifestyle disease and other conditions. Pilates are also effective in increasing flexibility and bringing unity to the mind and body, but the degree of focus is different. Pilates is also not used generally as a therapeutic practice.

You can observe both of the practices and figure out which one suits you the best. Although it is good to practice both of them you might want to focus on one of them. Make sure that you find a teacher that has enough training on both yoga and Pilates before enrolling in the classes.

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