Yoga vs. Pilates

Yoga and pilates are two of the most popular forms of exercises right now. With practitioners singing the praises for both workouts, people who want to pick up a physical activity to keep them fit want to know which one is the better exercise routine?

Yoga

Yoga is based on the Eastern thought of moving energy throughout the body. You are healthiest and most energetic when energy is able to flow freely. Physical strains hamper the energy flow. Eventually strained areas of your body will become taut and rigid.

The goal of yoga is to keep the body supple through physical poses, stretching and exercises, control of breath. There is another dimension to yoga, that of a holistic spiritual discipline rooted in Eastern forms of meditation. The poses, though they discipline the body, are directed at the mind. This symbolizes the goal of this practice which is to have balance and composure in your life.

Pilates

Pilates on the other hand, is foremost, a physical conditioning. It was designed by Joseph Pilates to rehabilitate injured soldiers after WWI. Pilates exercises use cables, trolleys and unusual body positioning to stretch and strengthen the body. It is unique in its ability to promote coordination between muscles that stabilize the body.

Dancers particularly enjoy Pilates because they found that it is highly efficient in improving body awareness, alignment, as well as promote graceful and fluid motions. The machine-based version of the exercise though, has more in common with weigh training than yoga because it includes moving against resistance, with the goal of overloading the muscles.

The newer form of Pilates called Pilates mat class has more in common with yoga, relying more on calisthenic-style exercises and stretches, though the focus is still toning the body rather than holistic development.

When deciding which exercise to take, consider what you’re goal is: is to tone your body or to rejuvenate both body and mind? Although, you actually don’t have to make a choice. Since there is no single workout routine or system that can provide all types of conditioning, you can opt to practice both – and reap the benefits by having a toned and healthy body, and a sound mind.