Despite their similarities, Pilates and yoga are not one and the same. Let's see how they differ and why they’re so great for your health:
Yoga vs. Pilates: What's the Difference?
Yoga emphasizes the mind-body connection. It has evolved over the years into different styles, such as Bikram, Hatha, and Ashtanga. Each type of yoga has unique characteristics. Their end goal is to increase body awareness while improving emotional and spiritual health.
Unlike yoga, Pilates is a relatively new discipline. It was developed in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates. Initially, it was used for physical rehab. Today, people practice it to stay strong and flexible, lose weight, and improve their fitness level.
Pilates exercises emphasize core strength. They also stretch and strengthen your muscles while enhancing your balance.
Compared to yoga, this discipline focuses more on building flexibility and strength, and less on the mental aspect. When practiced regularly, it helps develop a strong core, improves your posture, and gives your body more flexibility. Just like any exercise, it wards off stress and calms your mind.
What Are the Benefits
These disciplines complement each other. The flexibility you will gain from Yoga will enable you to move better in Pilates. Strengthening your core muscles during Pilates classes will boost your flexibility and balance in yoga. On top of that, both practices promote spiritual well-being and distract you from daily worries.
What if you want to lose weight? At first sight, Pilates might seem a better choice. After all, it provides a full body workout and helps build lean muscle, which in turn, boosts your metabolism. Depending on your weight and fitness level, you'll burn up to 336 calories per hour during a typical Pilates class.
Bikram or hot yoga, for instance, will leave you drenched in sweat and get your heart rate through the roof. It involves 26 poses that must be performed in a room heated at 105 degrees. A typical session lasts for 90 minutes and torches up to 716 calories.
Furthermore, research shows that yoga improves self-esteem and body image, increases mindfulness, and soothes mental tension. It also boosts functional fitness, making daily activities easier.
In a study conducted on sedentary individuals, those who practiced yoga twice a week for eight weeks experience major improvements in muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance. Other studies have found that yoga may lower the risk of heart disease and regulate blood sugar levels.
- Sign up for yoga or Pilates classes
- Exercise at home using online videos and DVDs
- Hire a personal trainer specializing in these disciplines
Ideally, start to exercise at home. This way, you can figure out which discipline best suits your needs.
Begin with simple exercises to build up your strength and endurance. As you progress, try more advanced workouts. The same goes for yoga. Most asanas (yoga poses) can be easily customized to your fitness level. Some are perfect for beginners, while other involves greater balance and strength. To start, experiment with basic poses, such as:
- Mountain pose
- Triangle pose
- Downward facing dog pose
- Boat pose
- Chair pose
- Child's pose
- Cobra pose
Don’t worry that you're not flexible or strong enough to practice yoga. You do yoga and then you become strong and flexible. Everyone has to start somewhere. The more you practice, the better you'll be. Just make sure you don’t go overboard. 15-30 minutes of yoga or Pilates are more than enough for beginners.
So, are you ready to give it a try? Combine yoga with Pilates to build a strong mind and body! The benefits are immediate.