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From an outsider’s perspective, yoga and pilates seem like pretty much the same thing. It’s true that they both involve a lot of crazy looking positions, but there is so much more to them and some major differences too. While yoga and pilates are both great for our wellbeing, they target slightly different aspects of our minds and bodies. Let’s take a look at what sets yoga and pilates apart.
Yoga is believed to have originated in ancient India with some researchers believing it to be up to 10,000 years old. It is low-impact and has a ton of different styles including bikram (hot) and vinyasa (high intensity). The most common style practised in the western world is Hatha, which involves a bit of everything. While emphasising different aspects of the practice, a typical class will begin with an ‘Om’ chant, while you’re seated on a yoga mat. You’ll then start the class, which involves holding a series of static poses, each with their own name and meaning.
For the most part, the poses are pretty challenging and can work to improve flexibility, strength and posture. Think positions like the one above, which is called downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). In this instance, your body makes an ‘A’ shape with your hands and feet pressed to the floor. Sometimes props like blocks or buckles are used in yoga practice, but nothing too intense. The class usually finishes with a guided meditation, where you lay flat and simply relax. Meditation is a great way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. There is also a big focus on breathing throughout any yoga class to achieve complete relaxation.
Pilates is younger than yoga and was invented in the in the 20th century for muscle rehabilitation. While it’s still low-impact, pilates is a bit more dynamic than most schools of yoga and has a bigger focus on fitness. Instead of holding static poses, it’s all about slow movement designed to tone, strengthen and improve posture. While yoga focuses on flexibility, pilates concentrates on your core strength with most of its exercises revolving around those powerhouse muscles. Think planks, sidekicks, and slow pushups.
Unlike yoga, which only uses basic props, if any, it’s quite common for equipment and machines to be used in a pilates class. This can include anything from reformer beds (pictured above) and medicine balls to bands and weights. Additionally, while yoga focuses on breathing to evoke a sense of relaxation, breathing techniques are predominantly used to give energy to muscles in pilates.
If your goal is to get spiritual and work on your mind through meditation, then yoga is for you. If you want to get strong, tone up and work those core muscles, give pilates a try.
Interested in pilates, yoga, or both? Avaana can connect you with the best yoga and pilates instructors near you. So, chuck on some tights, roll out your mat and get moving (or stretching)!
A workout that will get you toned and taut, while also engaging your mind? Yes,it exists! Pilates is one of the best ways to build core strength without having to slave away at the gym alone. It’s widely accepted as a means for physical exercise and is linked to a range of health benefits.
Pilates is a low-impact exercise, which targets the core or ‘powerhouse’ muscles. These are the muscles around the hips, stomach and pelvis that keep us stable and upright. The workout also improves balance, flexibility, posture and body awareness. While classes go for around an hour, it isn’t about exhausting yourself or working up an intense sweat. It’s all about concentration, breathing and placement, as your body moves through a range of slow movements. Importantly, you don’t have to be super fit to try pilates!
Pilates is also great for your mind and keeping calm. The practice uses many elements of meditation, which helps with achieving this sense of peace and stress management. Pilates can also help you become more mindful, which can lead to an overall sense of wellbeing. Interestingly, pilates is also linked to increased brainpower and has the potential to improve brain function.
Pilates is fantastic for getting your body looking lean, sculpted and toned. This is because the movements are designed to lengthen and tighten the muscles instead of bulking them up. Pilates also focuses on core strength and the belief that if your powerhouse is strong, the rest of the body will follow suit. Inevitably, this can lead to a pretty enviable mid-section!. The aesthetic benefits are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the perks of pilates. Aside from making the body more functional for daily life, pilates can lower the risk of injury. It’s also a favourite with athletes, as it can work to improve sports performance and bone density. Additionally, pilates is an effective reliever of back pain and can even help to increase lung capacity due to its positive effect on breathing.
Pilates has so many benefits but can seem a little daunting at first. Avaana helps make your journey smoother by connecting you with an experienced instructor. Get ready to activate your core, focus your mind, unwind and feel fabulous!