Yoga Or Pilates?

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The American Sports and Fitness Association defines low-impact exercises as exercises that have a low impact on your joints and can help build flexibility and strength around your joints to aid them better for when you do more strenuous activities. These exercises are usually done in a fluid motion and are easier on the joints, great for people who are new to working out or are recovering from injury.

Low impact exercises focus more on stretching, building strength, improving balance and body alignment rather than building power and burning calories. Some examples of these exercises are yoga and pilates, but depending on your workout preferences, here are some points to consider when choosing the right activity for you.

Yoga

Yoga is a physical practice that originated in ancient India that develops harmony in the mind, body, and environment. It encompasses the principles of proper relaxation (Savasana), proper exercise (Asanas), proper breathing (Pranayama), proper diet and nutrition, and positive thinking and meditation.

Types Of Yoga:

Kundalini Yoga

Aimed at releasing stored or pent-up energy and typically involves chanting, singing, and kriyas (poses with breathwork and chanting).

Hatha Yoga

Derived from the Sanskrit terms for sun and moon, this type of yoga is designed to balance opposing forces like strength and flexibility, breath and body, or physical and mental energy. 

Vinyasa Yoga

Also known as “flow yoga” and translates to “place in a special way”, meaning poses are transitioned smoothly, closely linking breath to movement.

Ashtanga Yoga

Made up of six poses taught in order, where you can move on to the next pose after mastering the previous one.

Yin yoga

A style of yoga with influences from Chinese medicine and martial arts, designed to improve flexibility and circulation in joints through holding poses for some time.

Iyengar yoga 

Apractice known for its use of props including chairs, benches, straps, blocks, and bolsters with emphasis on detailed alignment and holds of positions.

Hot Yoga

Consists of a series of poses performed in a room heated to 105°F

Restorative Yoga

Apractice that uses props or yoga accessories like bolsters, straps, and belts to support the body and keep you relaxed in a position for at least 5 minutes, aimed at releasing tension in the muscles and regulating the nervous system.

Pilates

Developed by German-born Joseph Pilates in the 20th century aimed at helping soldiers injured from World War 1 through strengthening, stretching, and stabilizing certain muscles. Originally called “Contrology”, Pilates is based on the principles of centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow. It’s a physical practice with the goal of improving strength, flexibility, and posture through targeted exercises that work out not only the core but other muscle groups as well.

The exercise is known for the use of different apparatus made up of a system of pulleys, springs, handles, and straps like the Reformer, Trapeze, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Spine Corrector, Ladder Barrel, and Pedi-Pole, and smaller handheld pieces like bands, weights, and magic circles. These pieces of equipment aren’t always needed to practice, but some people may need the assistance and support the equipment provides especially when starting to build the muscle strength to eventually practice without needing to use these.

Benefits Of Yoga And Pilates

Yoga and Pilates are similar in the sense that both practices are aimed at developing strength, flexibility, physical wellness through different exercises and even magically transforming your skin; the difference lies in the emphasis on relaxation and meditation plays in one exercise over the other.

Both disciplines are slower in pace compared to other physical activities and require the use of deeper breathing and concentration, balancing your body’s nervous system, and could in turn reduce anxiety and combat effects of stress with constant practice. While there are numerous studies about the effects of yoga, more scientific research needs to be done on Pilates. Pilates practitioners say that the exercise has helped improve posture, muscle tone, balance, and mobility, while athletes and dancers use Pilates to complement their training by developing strength and flexibility in the whole body and reducing the risk of injury.

As with any form of exercise, effects from practicing either yoga or Pilates don’t happen overnight. The benefits from doing either yoga or Pilates come with constant practice, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and including rest days in-between days of exercise.

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