What’s the Difference Between Yoga and Pilates?

Although from afar both yoga and Pilates appear to be similar practices, (use of a mat, most exercises done on the floor etc.) they are actually very different.

Let’s take a look at some of the differences between yoga and Pilates:

1. The Origin

The most obvious difference is the origin of the practice. Yoga was developed thousands of years ago. The practice has grown and changed over the years, with many different gurus adding and taking away from the whole of yoga.

Yoga is also more than just exercises. There is a philosophy behind yoga. Meditation, pranayama, chanting and mantras also play a large part in the practice.

In comparison, Pilates was developed by one man named Joseph Pilates in 1883. As a sickly child, Joseph promised himself that he would find a way to cure his ailments naturally. As he matured, he studied many different forms of exercise such as yoga, martial arts, and gymnastics. Eventually he developed the Pilates system which he not only used on himself but prescribed to those he taught.

2. The Aim

The ultimate aim of yoga is to attain enlightenment. The secondary aim is to unite the mind, body and spirit. This is accomplished through a variety of asanas, breathing exercises, meditation, and diet.

The aim of Pilates is overall health and vitality. The exercises, often performed with breath control, are meant to strengthen, tone and stretch – bringing overall balance to the body.

3. The Physical Practiced

The physical poses and practice of yoga varies greatly depending on the type of yoga studied. Some forms, such as Hatha and Iyenger, make use of props like straps and blocks. Other types, such as Kundalini yoga, do not typically use props.

Regardless of props, yoga is always performed on a mat on the floor. The asanas, or poses, require the body to stretch and hold in unique ways-always using the body as resistance. The poses, although strengthening, are often aimed more towards flexibility and stretching.

Pilates is known for its use of exercise machines developed by Joseph Pilates. Although, one does not need to use machines to practice Pilates. Aside from Pilates machines, the remaining practice is done on a mat on the floor.

Pilates focuses on strengthening the core, or abdominal muscles. Through precision of movement, Pilates aims to teach the body new ways of moving in order to strengthen and tone muscles not often used. Although the practice encourages flexibility, it is more aimed towards strengthening the body.

Pilates is popular among dancers and athletes for its amazing ability to strengthen, stretch, and tone the entire body.

There are several similarities between yoga and Pilates. The two practices even share some poses in common – such as cat/cow, plank, cobra (called swan in Pilates), and Chaturanga (Pilates push-up).

But aside from the similarities, Pilates and Yoga are very different practices.

The next question on the beginner’s mind: which is better?

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Gain Health and Fitness With Pilates

Gaining health and fitness with Pilates is an attainable goal and an important piece of the health and fitness puzzle. While the process of achieving a fit and healthy body will ask you to work hard and be patient, you should know that it is not as hard as you think. Through careful planning, you can reap the benefits Pilates has to offer.

Once you decide to work towards health and fitness with Pilates, an important thing to recognize is the need to take it slowly. Do not rush into the process of beginning a new health and fitness routine because your body needs time to adjust. Building strength, both mental and physical, takes time. Rushing into a new regime without gathering the proper information might leave you disappointed and confused.

The very first thing to know when beginning a Pilates fitness routine is that there are different types of Pilates. There are mat exercises and those that need Pilates exercise equipment. Among the two, the mat workout is very common to start with because it requires no equipment except a mat or soft surface and it also builds our strength gradually. Mat exercises include the need to lay down on your side, back, and stomach or do kneeling and sitting positions when executing the exercises. The main principle here is the use of your own weight for resistance. The flip side is to add small Pilates equipment such as band, ball, and ring in order to perk up weight resistance and to make the whole routine more challenging.

The Reformer is the most essential of the larger Pilates equipment. There you will perform many of the same exercises as you do on the mat with the enhanced addition of weighted resistance. Since this equipment can be expensive, you can explore the option of private sessions with a certified professional or join a gym that offers reformer classes.

By the time you start with Pilates routines, health and fitness with Pilates is surely something you can master after some time. Just continue with the process because you will reap the benefits of health and fitness with Pilates. Indeed, after all the hard work, you will see and feel good results. So keep on persevering until you reach your goals. Remember: patience and tenacity are the key elements of any new workout routine.

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