Physical fitness is incredibly important to a person’s overall health, and there are a ton of different ways to make sure that you’re taking good care of your body. Sometimes, however, it seems like you can’t turn your head without hearing somebody proclaiming the many benefits of things like Yoga and Pilates. What’s interesting, however, is that these two different things can easily start to seem confusingly similar. While they do, in fact, share a few similarities, there are some very important differences between yoga and pilates that make the two forms of exercise distinct from one another.
Both Yoga and Pilates are considered forms of movement therapy, each seeking to help their practitioners achieve a sense of balance in mind, body, and spirit. Each goes about this through the practice of repeated controlled movements, so it’s perfectly understandable that the two can start seem very similar. In truth, Yoga is more focused on flexibility and peacefulness, while the alternative option puts a stronger emphasis on muscle development, strength, and precision.
One way of describing Yoga’s ultimate goal is the unity of the mind, body, and spirit. Ideally, when you practice Yoga, your body finds harmony and is able to heal itself. For these reasons, it is considered to be very therapeutic. It’s designed to help you connect with your physical self in a much more immediate way, helping you to improve things like your posture and alignment. Yoga also helps you to understand movement patterns and become more flexible. You will use various poses to reach these goals, and will learn to employ your body’s own weight as resistance.
Pilates is similar to Yoga in that it achieves its goals through a series of controlled movements, but it incorporates both matwork and work that is done on a machine. Specifically, Pilates has a tendency to focus on your abdominal muscles, your lower back, and your glutes. Together, these form your “powerhouse,” which is the center of movement in this form of exercise. One of the best things about Pilates is that, like Yoga, it’s a very low-impact form of exercise. For this reason, it is used in a lot of physical therapy courses. It strengthens your muscles and helps to build a focus on efficient movement with minimal impact upon the rest of your body. While doing this, it helps you to improve your concentration, control, and breathing in ways that will benefit you in your everyday life.
Both Yoga and Pilates are wonderful forms of exercise that will help you to build and experience a more intimate connection between your mind, body, and spirit. While each might employ a slightly different methodology, either will help you learn how to create and maintain a greater sense of inner balance. From free online resources to local classes, there are a ton of different ways that you can start learning either type of exercise, and get on the path to a more peaceful and physically fit lifestyle.