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Yoga vs Pilates

Yoga vs Pilates is a common question asked my thousands of people who want to know the difference between the two or who are unsure of which on to take up. There is no definite answer to the debate, yoga benefits will be different to pilates benefits and the purposes of the two popular activities are unique.

These two phenomenons, yoga and pilates, has taken the modern world by storm and are often thought of as going hand-in-hand but are in fact two completely separate practices that differ in origin, exercises and core focus. Yoga poses will differ to those of pilates, and for a specific reason. Due to the number of different types of yoga and pilates, it is hard to pin point which is better for you. Both yoga and pilates will bring you improved muscular and postural strength.

Why is yoga good for you?

Yoga is an act that brings together your mind and body through coordination of exercise, breathing and meditating. If you are looking for a cardio workout then yoga classes will probably not be what you are looking for, clearly depending on the type of yoga, generally speaking. As it is a low-intensity form of exercise, the longer the yoga session, the more pounds you will lose. However, yoga is proven to boost felxibility, endurance and strength through regular participation over a long period of time. An additional benefit of yoga is that is help to bring inner peace and relaxation, helping you to de-stress and contemplate.

Why is pilates good for you?

Pilates is a form of exercise that aims to strengthen muscle groups by stretching and lengthening the target muscles. As a calm way of exercising, it will not boost your heart rate like going for a jog would, but the more advanced class, the higher your heart rate would be. For weight loss, pilates is slightly more effective than yoga, however you would need to maintain going to pilates classes for around an hour several times a week for several weeks for regular weight loss. Pilates is especially useful for building abdominal strength and tightening obliques, with improved flexibility as a bonus.

 

Pilates or Yoga

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Pilates for beginners

New to Pilates?…

 

Don’t worry! Here are the basic principles of Pilates:

  • Breathing

When breathing you should inhale through the nose and out through the mouth. Breaths should be taken before you engage the muscles. Our bodies need oxygen to heighten concentration and relax the muscles.

  • Pelvic area

You should be aware of your neutral position – a key position in Pilates. To find your neutral spine lie on the floor with knees at a 45 degree angle. Rock your pelvis back and forth as if you’re peeling yourself away from the floor one vertabrae at a time. This is to feel the tilt of the pelvis. Most people have their spines in either a tucked or tilted position. To be in neutral spine your body has to be with the lower abs flat and a small natural curve of the lower spine from the floor. Your bottom rib should also be touching the floor.

  • Rib cage area

The rib cage must also be neutral to achieve more freedom of movement. It is difficult to control the rib cage in order to breathe efficiantly but eventually you should be able to connect in your upper abdominals, inhale in to your middle back and lengthen up! You should already have a good command of your abdominals before this can be accomplished.

  • Scapular area and movement

Scapular refers to the shoulder blades. They have a lot of mobility which needs to be stablised using muscles. The shoulder blades support our spine but when this support is absent the neck and shoulders are overworked = pain! The aim is to ensure the scapulae are connected by muscles whilst fitting into the back of the rib cage with no edges popping out. There are scapula isolation exercises designed to help you attain this.

  • Head and cervical area

When sitting in neutral the skull should balance directly above the shoulders. An exercise to engage your head is to lie in neutral position, then gently nod the chin towards your chest while lengthening the back of the neck. Keep your head on the floor throughout. We put a lot of strain on the neck as our heads are so heavy so neutral position is a useful way to combat this.

 

Basic positions

 

GET STARTED! This website shows a range of good basic positions for you to begin Pilates…

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/fitness/workouts/beginners+pilates,9993