Yoga and pilates are both hugely popular and effective workouts. They tone your muscles, use stretching, and improve the flexibility of your body. But they are actually very different workouts. If you’re wondering whether yoga or pilates is the best choice for you, here’s a little help deciding.
Yoga: origins and objectives
Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago and was practised in its simplest form to achieve inner peace. It has developed since then, incorporating more complicated moves and poses to resemble more of a 21st-century workout, but its fundamental objective has remained the same. Yoga is a contemplative rehabilitation of the mind and uses the mind to achieve stability, relaxation, and ease. The end goal of a yoga class is to feel relaxed. If you are struggling to feel relaxed and clear your mind at times, then yoga is probably the better option for you.
Yoga: its benefits
So just how does this ancient practice fit in as a modern day workout? Well, yoga has proven to have many benefits, not only to your mental well being but your physical health. The practise of slow, controlled movements and holding different poses for a length of time challenges the body to use breathing and concentration to give your mind a focus. But in performing these moves, you are also improving your flexibility, balance and strengthening every muscle in your body. It is also very beneficial to people with injuries or who struggle with strenuous, energetic exercise, as it is supposed to achieve a state of relaxation. Being able to concentrate on different yoga poses reduces stress, muscle tension and helps to clear your mind.
Yoga: who is it for?
The simple answer is anybody and everybody. Yoga is suitable for any age, any fitness level and is not only appropriate for people with injuries or disabilities, it actually helps them. But who would really benefit from yoga? People struggling with mental health issues, such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Yoga is a great workout, but it is fundamentally a mind over body practice, and therefore better suited to people who want a workout that will help them with their mind and to relax.
Pilates: origins and objectives
Pilates was created in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, who believed that exercise should incorporate breathing, control and the use of equipment. Pilates is now famous and enjoyed worldwide for its use of machines to perform various moves. Unlike yoga, pilates focuses more on the body and prioritises the strengthening of muscles and improvement of balance and coordination over mental improvement.
Pilates: its benefits
Pilates is hands down one of the best workouts if you want a lean, toned physique. It relies heavily on machines and equipment, such as resistance bands, but not weights. So you strengthen and stretch the entire body rather than build on them in isolated areas. While yoga uses poses, Pilates uses more dynamic, repetitive exercises which burn more calories and feels like more of a workout. Pilates also focuses greatly on core strength and uses the core to perform moves effectively. It is said to be one of the greatest workouts for getting strong abs. Breathing is also important, but in pilates, it is used for helping the body perform the exercises while in yoga it is more meditative. If weight loss and muscle tone are your goals, then pilates is the better choice for you.
Pilates: who is it for?
Pilates can help with injuries, but in general, it is an energetic workout that is aimed to burn calories and tone you up. It is more active than yoga, and focuses more on the body than the mind. If you want to lose weight and have a really lean but toned figure, then pilates is the better option for you.