Pilates and Yoga is everywhere. If you watch TV, you’ll hear someone talking about them and recommending the best Yoga or Pilates exercise video. If you read newspapers or magazines there are articles about how fantastic Yoga and Pilates are. And if you walk into a health club, most of the exercise classes are either Pilates or Yoga. But do they really work as well as people say? And what is the difference between the two workouts? And lastly, which one is best for you?
Lets start with Yoga. The core principle with Yoga is that it “brings together”, or in other words it’s purpose it to unite the body, mind and spirit. That by bringing these three elements together and creating balance between them you will feel more energized, healthy and more at peace. And it makes sense, when we are in perfect symmetry our life is less stressful and it is easier to flow throughout the day when faced with challenges. Yoga is typically done in a group setting or with an exercise video. There are many different styles of Yoga, some are geared more towards flexibility, relaxation and stress reduction while others are more focused on enhanced fitness levels. One style isn’t better than the other; it’s really a matter of personal preference. The best thing to do is to talk to the instructor before taking class and get a feel for how they run the workout. And if you are doing a home workout video, read the description thoroughly and if there is information that you don’t understand, do your homework and research the brand of Yoga you are considering
Pilates: In a nutshell, Pilates is a full-body workout. It’s less about relaxation and spirituality and more about health and fitness. It uses breath and controlled, precise movement to target primarily the muscles in the abs, back and butt (often referred to as the core). Participants are encouraged to perform the moves at their own pace, in a slow and controlled manner. Unlike a typical body sculpting workout were participants are encouraged to move at a specific tempo to a specific beat, Pilates participants take all moves at their own pace: do it as slowly as you like, there is no beat to follow. There are six main principles with Pilates: concentration, control, centering, breathing, flow and precision. Pilates does a wonderful job balancing the bodies need for both strength and flexibility – which in return creates a strong (and sexy) body.
To wrap it up: Do Yoga if you want an overall enhanced quality of life through breathing exercises, stretching and strength building poses. Do Pilates if you are more interested in a stronger, healthier body (and more specifically a stronger core). But guess what, if you want everything – do both! Do half Yoga and half Pilates. Or consider trying a hybrid of the two workouts. There are many great exercise videos that take a little Yoga and a little Pilates and create a workout commonly known as “Pilatoga”, or also called “Piloga”. With continued practice this is a wonderful form of exercise – try it today by taking a class or doing an exercise video, you will be glad you did.