What’s the difference between YOGA and Pilates?

Yoga and Pilates can be grouped together, but each has its own unique characteristics. How can you decide between the two? They both seem like a relaxing form of exercise. Both Pilates and Yoga use a mat. They are both available at gyms as group fitness classes. And both create a toned, lean physique.

You can choose the best option for you by comparing Pilates and Yoga.

What is Yoga?

Yoga was designed and created in India for men and women over 5,000 year ago to connect human consciousness with universal consciousness through physical exercise. Yoga was created to improve emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Yoga focuses on flexibility, broad muscle groups and is extremely therapeutic through repetitive movements. Meditation and deep breathing are common in many types of yoga, which helps to relax. Yoga’s meditative aspect tends to appeal to people who want to relax and unwind.

Yoga can be anything from physically relaxing to completely relaxing.

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Hatha yoga. These slower-moving classes are all about the basics. You must hold each pose for several breaths. Hatha is considered by many studios to be the gentlest form of yoga. Hatha classes are ideal for beginners because of their slower pace.

Vinyasa yoga. This form of yoga combines breathing with dancelike movements. This is an excellent way to raise your heart rate because you won’t be in each position for long. Be prepared for fast-paced music and fun music.

Ashtanga yoga. This is the perfect type of yoga for those who are perfectionists and prefer an organized approach. You will flow through six specific yoga poses while breathing. This builds internal heat. This results in improved circulation, a calmer mind, and a strong, yet light body.

Iyengar yoga. Precision and correct body alignment are the focus of this type of yoga. The postures are held for a certain amount of time and blocks, ropes and straps are often used. This is a good type of yoga for people with injuries. However, you should always consult your doctor before starting.

Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga is performed in a heated room with a humidity of 40 percent and 104 degrees. Bikram is practiced in the same 90 minute sequence at all Bikram Studios, so you will know what to do when you unroll your mat. Stay hydrated, as the combination of vigorous exercise and the hot room may feel very strenuous.

Hot yoga. The movements of Hot Yoga are similar to Bikram, but they differ. You will feel more confident in your poses because of the heat. However, you should not push yourself beyond your current skill level.

Kundalini yoga. This form of yoga is both physically and mentally demanding and looks different than a typical class. While chanting, singing and meditating, you’ll be doing repetitive movements combined with intense breathing exercises. The goal is to increase your self-awareness.

Restorative Yoga. This is not the class for you if you’re looking for a tough workout. This slow-moving, longer-held practice is meant to be mellow. Props such as bolsters and blankets will be used to support the body during each pose.

Yin Yoga. This meditative exercise is designed to stretch connective tissues around joints and restore length and flexibility. Yin Yoga involves seated and supine poses that are held for several minute, allowing deeper fascia layers to be accessed. Props are often used to allow your body to relax into the pose without actively flexing muscles.

What is pilates, and why should you do it?

Joseph Pilates created the Pilates system of physical fitness in the early 20th Century. Pilates was created during World War I to help injured soldiers recover their health through strengthening, stretching and stabilizing specific muscles.

Pilates is a method that uses fewer and more precise movements to achieve the Pilates Principles: alignment, concentration, control precision, breathing, flow, and concentration. Joseph Pilates believed that physical and mental health are interdependent. He created a total body conditioning method.

Pilates has many of the same benefits as yoga. Pilates increases strength, flexibility and lean muscle toning with an emphasis on alignment and lengthening of the body.

You can also achieve other benefits by adding Pilates to your workout routine.

No bulk. The focus of Pilates exercises is to lengthen and strengthen the muscles simultaneously, resulting in a long, lean muscle tone.

Improves posture. You will be able to hold yourself in a different way by focusing on body alignment and proper posture.

Inner strength. You’ll become more in tune with what you need. You will be able train more efficiently and effectively.

Stress relief. You will be able to relieve stress and pass the time by achieving a mind-body connection during Pilates.

Increased energy. Pilates is not an exhausting exercise that will leave you exhausted. You’ll feel more energized and focused after your Pilates workout.

Eliminates toxins. You may notice improvements in your digestion after regular Pilates exercises. It can also lead to a faster metabolism and a stronger immune system.

Pilates has many other benefits, including improved bone density, pelvic function and lung capacity, amongst others.