For people who have never done pilates, there is often the thought that it is just another variation of yoga. However while the two practices share a few similarities and compliment each other, there are a few differences that set them apart and mean that one might be more appropriate to you and the goals you wish to achieve.
Yoga is a thousand year old practice originating in India, and is said to be the most widely practiced style of exercise in the world. Pilates, however, originated in Germany in the 20th century (more details here) as a system of exercises to strengthen the core (postural) muscles, as well as the mind.
Pilates and yoga have a lot of similarities, particularly the focus on the mind-body connection (yoga also adds in a spiritual element too, depending on the practice). But there are also a few key differences.
So, how are they different, and what is best for you?
If you are looking to de-stress and improve flexibility, then we vote that you give yoga a go first. You will work on your mind-body connection, while also utilising meditation and breathing techniques. While there are many styles, our favourite is Yin Yoga, which you can read more about here.
Pilates, meanwhile, has a greater focus on improving core stability and strength, with the aim to make a stronger core to reduce the risk of injuries (particularly back injuries which often come from a weak core). Pilates works on those smaller, oft-forgotten stabilising muscles to build a solid foundation, while also incorporating stretching and breathing techniques into the exercises.
The vote? In an ideal scenario we recommend adding both yoga and pilates into your weekly routine. However if you can't fit them both in, think about what you're trying to achieve. If you are primarily after mental benefits, with physical coming second, then we recommend yoga. Depending on the type you do, you can still get a great workout, but the linking factor of all yoga classes is definitely on the mind-body-spirit connection. On the flip side, if you are wanting to increase your core strength and build overall tone and strength, then pilates is where you should head.
We offer both yoga and mat pilates classes, as well as private reformer pilates classes too. Book in online here, or call us on (08) 9448 2994, today to see one of our physiotherapists to see which is more appropriate for you