Moving your body and doing any type of exercise is extremely important for not just your physical health but also your mental health. Taking time out to focus on yourself and be away from any distractions is an amazing opportunity to unwind and decompress from work or life.
For this reason, a lot of people rave about the benefits of yoga and Pilates. But what are they? Are they the same type of exercise with different names?
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a type of exercise that focuses on building strength in your body with the main focus being on your core strength. This is said to aid in the improvement of overall fitness and well-being.
Pilates, like Yoga, focuses on posture, balance, and flexibility. As well as emphasises the mind-body link. Your mind must be continually aware of your breathing and the way your body moves while performing the various exercises.
How To Get Started With Pilates
Pilates is amazing for anyone including beginners as it all can be modified to suit your skill level. This can either be through gentle strength training or a more demanding, difficult workout.
If you're a beginner, start with the fundamentals and progress to the more advanced movements once you've mastered those. Going to Pilates workout classes is great for when you are starting as you will be able to work with an instructor and this will allow them to ensure that you are performing the exercises correctly and that you are not going to injure yourself.
What Is Yoga?
Yoga originally comes from India and is an ancient spiritual practice. But over the many years, it has become a physical practice and has gained popularity for its stress-relieving and well-being abilities.
There are a variety of yoga styles that range from gentle and restorative practices to physically demanding ones.
The westernised version of yoga that a lot of people practise, incorporates a lot of the ways of the past through the elements of postures, breathing techniques and meditation.
It is about connecting your mind, body and spirit through movement and the breath.
How to Do Yoga? Where to Begin?
When it comes to yoga you do not need to be afraid. Simply find a class in your local area or gym or you can pop a video on YouTube. It is an amazing resource for an at-home yoga practice. There are beginner poses and modifications if you cannot do all of the poses. With yoga, it is all about listening to your body and doing what feels good, rather than pushing yourself and causing pain.
If you do choose to attend a class just inform the teacher that you are a beginner and let them know of any injuries you may have, that way they can help you and give you the best experience.
What Is The Difference Between Pilates And Yoga?
The main difference between yoga and Pilates is that Yoga is a holistic practice that emphasises the integration of the mind, body, and spirit. Pilates is an exercise that focuses on good alignment, core strength, and muscular balance. But this isn’t to say that either does not encompass these qualities.
Yoga and Pilates are low-impact activities that emphasise resistance using just your body weight. Rather than targeting specific muscle groups, both types target the entire body.
Pilates and yoga come in a variety of forms, and classes can be found at gyms, studios, and even online. It's easy to get confused about the differences between yoga and Pilates because while they have differences, they also have a lot of similarities.
What Are The Benefits?
By practising yoga or Pilates the breathing techniques help to relieve stress, reduce anxiety and leave you feeling a little bit lighter. This is because the art of movement and combining it with your breath can act almost like a moving meditation. This encourages you to align your body with the mind and spirit, taking time to focus on yourself, free from distractions.
Yoga and Pilates are concerned with the mind, and spirit, taking the time to connect with your body and breath, and having the opportunity to slow down and focus inwards.
Yoga has an extremely balancing effect through the use of deeper breathing and the focus and concentration required in some of the postures keep you very anchored in the moment and out of the distractions of the day, which helps to create a bit of space in the mind.
Pilates also has a slower-paced discipline that focuses on breathwork, it can be extremely meditative and stress relieving.
It's also likely that by practising yoga and Pilates, having the time and opportunity to focus on yourself with no distractions is why it is an amazing way to de-stress and relax.