If you are looking for ways to stretch and strengthen the body, perhaps you should consider doing yoga or pilates. Without including stretches in your exercise routine, cardio and weights will only make your body sore over the years.
Both yoga and pilates enthusiasts carry out their workouts with the same zeal, boasting about the countless mental and physical benefits they will reap from their exercise routines. While the activities have many similar attributes, they also differ from each other.
According to this reputable website, Yoga originated more than 5,000 years ago. The term “yoga” was derived from India’s earliest scriptures, known as Vedas. The Vedas consisted of the oldest teachings and techniques of Yoga, known as the Vedic Yogi.
The teachings were characterized by special rituals and ceremonies that were designed to surpass the limitations of the mind. Over the years, practitioners have been using yoga to gain stability and relaxation.
The term yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root word ‘Yuj’, which means to unite or to join. According to yogi scriptures, the practice of yoga is supposed to promote perfect harmony between the soul, body and mind.
Initially, pilates was considered the workout of the elites however over the years, it has entered the mainstream world of fitness. The legendary method of exercising was designed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates.
Growing up, Pilates suffered from asthma and other ailments. As he grew old, he studied various exercise regimes to improve his condition. Later, he became increasingly interested in the Greek ideal of a man, with a balanced body, spirit and mind. Pilates tackled all his illnesses and grew up to become a competent skier, gymnast and diver.
If you are unable to choose between the two, perhaps it’s time you familiarize yourself with the benefits of yoga and pilates.
Still stuck on the decision of whether you should opt for yoga or pilates. Here’s how the two differ from each other:
Unlike Pilates, yoga aims to bring out a more spiritual element to the mat and is deeply rooted in meditative practice. Apart from physical fitness, yoga aims to improve emotional and spiritual health, making the activity incredibly therapeutic, hence if you are on the lookout for internal peace, perhaps you should choose yoga.
While yoga mainly concentrates on increasing flexibility and strength, pilates pays more attention to strengthening the core and abdominal muscles first and then on achieving symmetrical musculature.
In pilates, many of the exercises are performed in resting position, such as while sitting or lying down. These movements are designed to defy gravity. Practitioners must then try to engage their abdominal muscles to lift themselves up.
On the other hand, many of the poses in yoga are performed while standing, rooting down into the earth. The primary goal of yoga besides improving spine alignment is to concentrate on breathing.
In pilates, every moment is initiated from the center, extending towards the limbs. On the other hand, yoga concentrates on breathing and then focuses on adopting a pose.
Yoga incorporates various deep breathing techniques. In fact, some poses require you to breathe only through the nose. This is more commonly known as ujjayi breath, and this eventually results in better respiratory health and helps eliminate anxiety and insomnia.
Sometimes, practicing even the simplest breathing techniques can help calm the mind when you are overwhelmed. On the other hand, pilates only requires you to breath in and out through the nose and mouth.
Here’s the thing, pilates is great for people who want to achieve toned muscles and strengthen their abdominal muscles. On the other hand, yoga is beneficial for all kinds of people, regardless of their age, health and fitness level.
Practically anybody can enroll in a yoga class and benefit from its range of physical, mental and spiritual benefits. It is imperative you seek the advice of an expert before you drastically alter your exercise routine. Your fitness instructor will be happy to design a program according to your health needs and fitness level.
The origin of yoga itself is spiritual as it was originally used to carry energy throughout the body, causing the practitioner to feel calmer and anxiety free. While many people opt for yoga as a means to tone their bodies and adopt a healthier lifestyle, other people opt for a deeper pathway that leads to spiritual enlightenment. Here are some of the spiritual aspects of yoga:
When practicing yoga, yogis eventually start becoming more aware of their spirit or the energy existing within. Awareness is highly critical to your yoga experience, helping you learn more about the way you act and react to different situations.
Let’s face it, in order to be happy and content, you need to realize you cannot control everything in life. There will always be that one person who talks to you rudely on the bus or a dog that always barks on the street. Yoga is all about letting go of your negative energies.
At times, it is important we quieted our minds and stop analyzing situations by simply letting it be. Yoga allows you to finally stop worrying and look at things from a better perspective. It offers people time and space to connect deeply with themselves and experience the joys of the world around them.
Contrary to what many people believe, yoga is not a religion, rather it is unison of the soul, body and mind. This allows people to use their abilities to the best potential.
Here are just a few things that yoga is good for:
Obesity and excess weight gain is a sign of imbalance in your everyday life. Fortunately, including yoga in your life enables you to develop a deep sense of relaxation, helping you destress and lose weight naturally.
Can’t reach your toes? It does not matter how tight your muscles are, practicing yoga will loosen your muscles, helping you become more flexible. Additionally, yoga also stretches the soft tissues, tendons and ligaments, increasing your range of motion, allowing you to move more freely.
The deep breathing techniques in yoga will increase your lung capacity, boosting your stamina and endurance level. Additionally, practicing calming yoga asanas slows down the heart rate, resulting in low blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Guess what, you do not necessarily have to climb mountains and visit holy shrines if you want to experience inner peace. Inner peace can be found within so take a mini vacation by enrolling yourself in a yoga class.
The best thing about yoga is you do not have to worry about painful injuries. With the help of yoga, you can learn to connect with your soul, body and mind without straining your muscles.
As with any sport, it is essential you buy the necessary equipment before you start.
Here’s everything you need for your first yoga class:
Opting for Pilates Instead? Here’s what you will need:
Whether you opt for yoga or for pilates is entirely your choice. However, you probably won’t be able to find as diverse and effective a workout as yoga. Good luck!
Pain-Relieving Yoga Poses for Every Area of Your Body
The Best Yoga Mats to Suit Every Style
A Beginner’s Guide to Power Yoga
Understanding Yoga For Beginners
The Best Basic Yoga Workout For Beginners
Enough Yoga Poses To Get You Started