Yoga… Pilates…or both?

Ever wondered what the difference and similarities are between Yoga and Pilates? Honestly, not much, except that the one is done much slower and static than the other.

Let me explain.

Yoga (the oldest exercise-routine to date), is a form of stretching and strengthening in a quiet, peaceful environment, where different poses are taught / worked through.  Holding a pose / being in a pose for more than a minute, is what makes Yoga different from Pilates. When you are able to relax whilst standing / balancing in a pose for a few minutes, then Yoga becomes advanced. Breathing is important when you practice yoga.  Stretching is, apart from warming-up, the other most important part of any exercise-routine.  Why?  Because your muscles contract when exercising and, if not stretched afterwards, it stays in a “spasm.”  This, in turn, can lead to stiffness, injuries, inflammation, and other related issues.

Strength-building through yoga comes when you are able to stay in a certain pose / position for more than 1 minute.

Pilates (founded by Joseph Pilates), is a combination of yoga, ballet and aerobics (the latter referring to the use of apparatus and floorwork). Originally it was seen as a rehabilitation-method, which helped the ballet dancers of the New York Ballet School, but soon more and more people came. And today there are hundreds of gyms, studios and the like, teaching Pilates.

Breathing, as in yoga, is extremely important when doing Pilates.  Every movement is done in accordance to a certain way of breathing.  This is one of the few differences between the two.   In Yoga and other exercises, one breathes abdominally.  However, in Pilates one keeps the tummy tucked-in and breathes into the lungs (as if pulling up a zip – the same way ballet dancers breathe).

Pilates-movements, like yoga, strengthen the body from the inside to the outside…once the core is strong, it creates a ripple effect to the outside muscles. 

Both Pilates and Yoga builds flexibility and suppleness, strength, awareness and helps you relax (even when the body is moving!)

Exercising more mindfully and slowly (controlled) put you in touch with your body and your breath.  Most people do not use their whole lung-capacity; in Yoga and Pilates it is vital to breathe deeply and slowly.  Very important too is to always listen to your body and do what you are capable of.

All in all, both Yoga and Pilates are great exercise-routines for everyone – including children, the elderly, injured people, pregnant ladies and yes, even men!  Did you know that the Blue Bulls and Tiger Woods practice Pilates?  And that Sting has been doing Yoga for years?

So next time you want to do something different, why not try Pilates or Yoga…or both?

One is never to old to learn something new!

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