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If you’re one of the people who assume that yoga and Pilates are basically the same thing, it’s time to rethink what you think you know about both types of fitness. Although they have some key similarities and share some of the same principles, there are some important differences between them and this may mean that you prefer one over the other.
Pilates is a lot more modern than yoga and has only been around since the end of the Second World War. It’s a very disciplined and structured type of exercise – much more so than yoga.
Pilates is considered to be low impact and is aimed at strengthening the body. Dancers often use Pilates to improve their strength and flexibility.
Pilates can be either equipment based or mat based. If you just want to keep things simple you can do Pilates work on a mat, but using equipment takes things up a notch. Pilates equipment can bring resistance to your workouts, for example.
Pilates can tone the whole body and is a popular way to get a leaner look without building muscle. If you want to sculpt your body a bit more but don’t fancy weight training, Pilates could be for you.
It’s also great for building stronger abdominal and back muscles and for encouraging the body to tap into its natural healing powers. If you’re keen to get a flatter stomach, Pilates is definitely a great choice.
Yoga is thought to have its roots in India and has been practised for thousands of years. Essentially, it is a range of postures that are designed to make you more flexible and improve your muscle strength. Unlike Pilates, it tends to involve meditation and deep breathing.
Like Pilates, yoga is usually a low impact exercise but power yoga can offer some cardio benefits and is on a par with walking at a brisk pace.
There are lots of different types of yoga and some are more physical than others. Which type works best for you depends on how intense you want to get and whether you prefer some of the more spiritual aspects of yoga. Some of the main types include:
Some of the benefits of yoga include:
With yoga, you’ll work pretty much every muscle in your body through the various poses.
Both yoga and Pilates are based on improving your strength and flexibility but Pilates has a greater focus on getting a stronger core. You may well strengthen your core through yoga poses but this isn’t a key aim compared to Pilates.
Breathing is important to both yoga and Pilates but the way you breath isn’t the same. Yoga uses breathing on a much deeper level and you’re aiming to breathe in line with the poses you’re performing. The way you breathe can vary depending on the type of yoga you’re doing.
For Pilates, breathing is more straightforward and usually involves controlled breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth to start a muscle contraction.
Although yoga and Pilates are quite different, they can actually complement each other and many people choose to do them both, rather than picking one over the other. It’s quite common to start off with yoga poses then switch to Pilates, and you can use Pilates to get stronger for your yoga poses.
Pregnancy yoga and pregnancy Pilates are becoming more popular amongst pregnant women so there’s no reason to shy away from either while you’re pregnant.
In fact, both pregnancy yoga and pregnancy Pilates can have lots of benefits for mums-to-be. The traditional yoga and Pilates exercises are adapted to address specific concerns that crop up during pregnancy.
Some of the things they can do include:
Whether you choose yoga versus Pilates often depends on what you’re hoping to achieve. And if you really can’t make up your mind, you can always do them both and get double the benefits!
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