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Hi! Happy weekend!
Yoga and Pilates.
We’ve been building up to this post.
Today, we’re going to look at both Yoga and Pilates – comparing them a bit and looking at the combo practice.
Yoga vs Pilates – Compare and Contrast
While both yoga and Pilates take an integrated mind-body approach to fitness and well-being, their origins, approach to these objectives, and methods differ greatly.
The emergence of mind-body classes like Pi-Yo and Yogalates can make it difficult for people to distinguish between the two. While these disciplines can be pursued as complementary activities or integrated into one style, like Pi-Yo (which we will discuss later in this post), they aren’t the same.
It can be beneficial to practice each independent of the other. Which one you choose to practice depends on what you want to achieve.
Origins of Each Discipline
Yoga is a spiritual practice with a physical aspect. It evolved in India 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. Yogis, or people who practice yoga, use breath work (pranayama), physical poses (asanas), meditation (dhyana), and personal practices to pursue the full integration of mind, body, and spirit or samadhi. Samadhi refers to attaining the state of enlightenment, bliss, or union with the divine.
This practice emerged in the late 1900s, introduced to the world by its namesake, Joseph Pilates. Pilates developed his method as part of his efforts to heal himself. He had suffered from physical weaknesses, rheumatic fever, asthma, and rickets, during his childhood.
In his efforts to cure himself, he studied Eastern and Western forms of exercise and Greek and Roman exercise practices like wrestling, gymnastics, and calisthenics as well as yoga.
There are some issues that both Pilates and yoga are helpful with. Yoga and Pilates both an help with your energy levels and help you sleep better at night. Yoga and Pilates have also long been acknowledged as great methods for losing weight and building lean muscle. Both disciplines, because of their focus on slow exercises and deep breathing, are great ways of lowering the body’s overall stress levels. They also both improve posture.
How Yoga Differs
In general, Western yoga practitioners are most familiar with the physical postures of yoga. However, yoga postures or asanas, are only one component of an extensive system of philosophy, spiritual practices, and science. The poses are intended to build strength in the body and encourage mental focus. The asanas develop and strengthen every part of the body, joints, muscles, organs, glands, bones, and metabolism.
During yoga, the breathing is deep and continuous linked to each movement and asana throughout the practice. Yoga’s extensive and currently exponential growth in popularity in Europe, the United States, and Canada supports the development of a broad range of yoga asana styles, including the more popular styles:
- Yoga Therapy
- Chair Yoga
How Pilates Differs
Pilates differs from yoga in several ways. Both yoga and Pilates focus on integrating the mind and body, but Pilates doesn’t include any spiritual pursuits. It does generally increase practitioners’ sense of well-being, but this isn’t its primary purpose. Pilates also takes a less organic approach to movement. All Pilates exercises extend from the body’s core, also called the powerhouse. The powerhouse spans the center of the body from the pelvic floor to the top of the shoulders.
Pilate’s practitioners focus on stabilizing the powerhouse and allowing other limbs to move freely to guide the body through the Pilates regimen of movements. Pilates also incorporates the use of exercise machines to offer support and take muscles through their full range of motion with optimal levels of extension and contraction.
During Pilates, the breath is coordinated with the execution of each exercise. The primary focus of each move in Pilates is perfect execution, versus repetition of any particular move.
The Mindfulness Element Of Yoga
Overall, yoga offers more than 60 different health benefits for mind, body, and soul. It reaches into every aspect on one’s life and goes way beyond fitness and physical achievement. For example, the mindfulness approach taught in yoga can help to improve many elements of life, including weight loss where getting in touch with the true needs of the body, such as hunger, helps to reduce the incidence of emotional eating or eating for any other reason but hunger.
The mindfulness aspect of yoga can be viewed as “life skills” training. In addition, this training can help deter many emotional and mental health problems, and the associated physical manifestations that result from them. Mindfulness during yoga brings calm and peace to your mind, body, and life. Through the process, you become more in touch with how you really feel, and that includes symptoms of stress. Such a heightened state of awareness allows you to better manage the triggers and affects that stress can have, thereby allowing you to avoid its serious health complications.
Many scientific studies have demonstrated the practice of mindfulness to have impressive and wide reaching benefits, including:
- Greater sense of well-being
- Stress and anxiety reduction
- Better mood
- Reducing risks for depression
- Better immunity
- Better social relationships
- Increased cognition, memory, and focus
- Increased awareness of oneself
- Improved ability to make decisions
- Improved sleep
- Reduction in chronic pain
- Lower blood pressure and reduction in risk for heart disease
- More enjoyment of life in general
- Overall improvement in quality of life
While yoga and Pilates provide similar benefits, a strong and toned body, endurance, and a sense of well-being, their end goals differ.
- Pilates focuses on strengthening and rehabilitating the body for optimal physical health; the mind or will is employed to achieve this goal.
- Yoga’s physical postures and breath exercises strengthen the body and discipline the mind in preparation for meditation and spiritual evolution.
In short, Pilates is outwardly focused and yoga is inwardly focused.
You could do both to take advantage of both disciplines strengths if they both appeal to you. One variant of the combination is Pilates Yoga.
Pilates yoga is currently a hot topic in many yoga circles. There’s a viewpoint that this style of yoga isn’t actually yoga. That’s not true! If you want to know more or this the combination might only be a fad, then here are some quick facts on the style and what you need to know before you make a decision.
What is Pilates Yoga
Pilates yoga is a form of yoga that specifically does two things. The first is that it uses a very specific set of movements. With each class or routine, you’ll be doing the same moves at the same intervals. The second specific point related to Pilates is that it uses different machines and items to help with the yoga poses. For this reason, many people believe that while it is a form of exercise, it isn’t yoga. However, it should be noted that most yoga communities and yoga certification programs do in fact register Pilates as a valid form of yoga and definitely a member of the yoga community, with or without machines.
How is Pilates Yoga Used
Pilates yoga is an ideal yoga practice for someone who needs to work on flexibility or needs some assistance because of issues from previous accidents or problems. For example, people who need to drop weight quickly may benefit from Pilates yoga, but people who have been in car accidents and need physical therapy may also use both Pilates and yoga as a form of physical therapy. The machines do help work your core more and do help with the physical goals such as building flexibility without causing injury.
Is Pilates Yoga Significantly Different
One of the key differences between Pilates and yoga are the machines and the accessories. When the disciplines are combined, the most common accessory used in Pilates yoga is the Pilates ring. This is held between the ankles for two reasons. The first is to make sure that you’re in the proper position and maintaining the proper posture for the workout. The other reason is because this well-placed ring actually helps work your thighs and your core.
Making the choice between doing Pilates and practicing yoga comes down to one of intentions. If the intention is simply to form a strong and balanced body, Pilates will serve.
However, if the goal is to achieve a strong and balanced physical body while gaining mental and spiritual benefits, pursue yoga.
If both outcomes seem like something you would like to experience, try them both and see which one you find most accessible and beneficial. It just may turn out that you aren’t willing to let either one go.
Hopefully, this information helps you if you had any questions about yoga or Pilates.
Have fun working it out!
Remember, you should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness routine.
Loving Life—the Reboot!