Yoga or Pilates?

Have you ever wondered what is the difference between yoga and pilates? Both exercises can be great to add in to your workout routine, but how can you be sure which is best for your condition and body goals? Here are a few basic points of each to help you decide which one may be right for you. (Please note that if you are doing the exercises for rehab purposes, it is best to consult with your doctor first.)

Yoga

Yoga

  • Strong emphasis on stretching along with strengthening
  • Whole body toning, including the hips, spine, and shoulders
  • Each posture is met with a counter posture to balance the body
  • Spiritual and relaxation emphasis to bring about a mind, body, spirit connection
  • Breathing techniques, breathing in through the nose and out through the nose, used to help calm the mind for meditation
  • Some add -ons can be used such as blocks, but for the most part only a mat is needed
  • Gets your body feeling good and brings peace of mind
  • In a recent study, people who did yoga 3x a week for 8 weeks had a 24% increase in whole body flexibility and increased bicep strength
  • Lowers the level of the stress hormone cortisol even after one session

Pilates photo

Pilates

  • Stronger emphasis on strengthening, but also incorporates stretching
  • Whole body toning, with emphasis on core strengthening and aligning the spine
  • Focuses on rehabilitation and stabilization through minimal controlled movements
  • Corrects imbalances in the body and improves posture
  • Can be equipment based (such as a reformer) or on a mat
  • Uses your own body weight or equipment to help build strength
  • Breathing techniques, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, used to empty the diaphragm to contract the deep abdominal muscles
  • Great for cross-training to build strength and stabilization in athletes and dancers
  • Feel stronger with better posture that you can feel throughout your daily activities
  • Better for your spine than any crunches and a study showed Pilates is 100% better at targeting those hard to get oblique muscles as well as increased flexibility in the hips, spine and hamstrings

If you are looking for a stress relieving stretch yoga may be better for you or if you are looking to increase core strength and better your posture, Pilates may be a better option for you. Both exercises have their place and if you need more advice on which would be a better fit for your goals and/or condition please come in for a consultation.

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