You have probably seen yoga and Pilates studios, and you may be wondering ‘what’s the difference between yoga and Pilates?’ While the two do have a lot in common, such as the promotion of relaxation, the effectiveness of the exercise itself, and the importance of the breath throughout, there are differences between them to know before choosing which one to begin with.
Yoga is chosen by many in order to help reduce stress, exercise in a calming environment, and build up a yoga practice that can be developed and continued throughout the years.
Traditionally, yoga is practiced as mindful movement, to unite the mind, body and spirit. It involves deep breathing, connecting to your body, and holding poses for long periods of time as you ‘relax’ into each one. It can be also be practiced during pregnancy, because it can offer many benefits and can even help in labor.
Yoga poses primarily focuses on flexibility of the body and your joints.
In Yoga classes, others who want all the benefits of yoga surround you and you do feel the community support and energy. In most classes, many focus on being in tune with themselves and their own energy, while adding to the communal energy.
Pilates primarily focuses on strengthening muscles, toning the body, body control, and flexibility. In each Pilates exercise, it is required for the abdominals to be engaged as to protect your back.
For Pilates class offerings, you will see both ‘Mat’ and ‘Reformer’ options. You can do mat pilates at home (after learning the correct form), but the Reformer is a special piece of exercise equipment particular to Pilates.
In Pilates classes, there is a focus on the ‘group’ and encouraging and uplifting one another to your best. Many class-goers chat throughout and it can be a very social exercise outing.
So if you are choosing to start up with Yoga or Pilates, it is important to consider the difference between the two. If you are looking for an exercise-focused class that does involve being in tune with your body but more so focuses on using breath work to sustain your body’s movements through each movement as you tone and strengthen, Pilates is a wonderful option. If you are looking for a way primarily to de-stress, get movement in and improve your flexibility, then Yoga is a wonderful practice.
In the end, both Pilates and Yoga are fun ways to exercise, strengthen your body, relieve stress and tune into your body.
When you are starting out with either Yoga or Pilates, it is recommended to join a class so that you are monitored by an instructor and can be sure to have the proper form as to avoid any injury and ensure you are doing the poses and exercises correctly. This way, you are also exposed to both and can choose whether one or the other feels like the right fit – or maybe a combination of the two!
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