Pilates and yoga are usually put in the same category, but they each have unique differences. Both are relaxing ways to work out, but how do you pick between them? Yoga and pilates are both available as a class at the gym, use a mat and help achieve a toned and lean physique. So, what are the differences and which one should you pick? Let us take a closer look.
What is Yoga?
This is an ancient practice that originated in India and only recently adopted in the west. Yoga comes in many types from restorative practices such as yin yoga to the fast-paced vinyasa. However, they all share certain features. Suffering from tight hips can be a real pain, sometimes yoga can help and sometimes it can’t.
Across all forms of yoga, the yogi moves their body into varying positions and tie deep breathing into the movement. The poses and transformations between them vary between the styles, but the ultimate goal is to connect the practitioner more deeply to their body and breath.
The Benefits of Yoga
Yoga has numerous benefits but the most noticeable include:
1. Improved Flexibility- Thanks to deep stretching, the practice increases the practitioner’s flexibility.
2. Mental Health- The focus on breathwork and mindfulness of yoga can help you improve your emotional and mental health. Studies also show that it’s ideal for depression and anxiety.
3. Better Shut-Eye- Many yogis report that spending some time on the mat results in better sleep.
What is Pilates?
Pilates, unlike yoga, is relatively new, being introduced in the 1920s as a form of rehabilitating bedridden soldiers during the war. Nowadays, there are two primary forms of pilates, mat and reformer. Both are low-impact and focus on strengthening the entire body while building the core.
Mat pilates only requires a mat while the reformer type utilizes a machine with spring resistance.
The Benefits of Pilates
Similar to Yoga, the benefits of pilates are endless. The few that stand out include:
1. Core Control- Pilates can help you build awareness of your vital core muscles and develop stronger abdominal muscles.
2. Better Posture- The awareness and engagement of your core muscles can ideally benefit posture. Those who engage in pilates usually discover they can sit and walk better after regular practice.
3. Safe Mobility- The practice includes a lot of passive and active stretching which results in better joint flexibility and mobility. Also, it is low-impact, thus keeping the joints safe.
So, Which One is Better?
You can indulge in both, but if you really want to stick to one form of exercise, here are a few things to keep in mind:
(i) If you’re looking to shed weight, pilates can be done with machines, which helps burn additional calories.
(ii) If you are looking to combat anxiety or depression, yoga is better as it focuses on both the body and mind. The breathing exercises help achieve relaxation as you need to focus on how the breath is employed.
(iii) If you have back issues, you need to be careful with some yoga poses as they might exacerbate the issue.
(iv) Pilates are more intense, and so, if you are looking to get a flatter stomach, for example, they can give quicker results than yoga.
By learning the benefits of each, it becomes easier to choose between yoga and pilates