Yoga and Pilates

Yoga and pilates

Yoga and Pilates have been hogging the news as information about them is all over magazines and TV channels. In this article we look at the similarities and differences of yoga and Pilates.

What is Yoga?
Yoga literally means the union of body, mind and spirit. Yoga is known for its therapeutic qualities and can help the body heal itself. It increases awareness of body and mind. Yoga improves flexibility and strength, and reduces stress. Thus, yoga can make you fitter, more energetic, happier and peaceful. In a typical yoga class, practitioners perform as a group under the guidance of an instructor. Yoga uses a person’s body weight for resistance. Emphasis is laid upon smoothly flowing from one pose to the next. There are many styles of yoga and you can choose the one that suits you best.

What is Pilates?
Pilates uses controlled movements and includes not only matwork, but also work on Pilates machines. Pilates improves strength and balance, lengthens and stabilizes the spine, promotes better posture and strengthens the abdomen. You can get a long, lean, dancer-like physique through Pilates. Pilates has six principles: precision, flow, breathing, centering, control and concentration. It gives a symmetrical, vigorous and healthy workout to all the muscle groups, building a stronger, leaner and more balanced body.

Do Both Yoga and Pilates for Better Results
Improve your fitness by performing both yoga and Pilates workouts. Since both are complementary, you can improve your yoga stretching with Pilates workouts. Your poses will also improve as Pilates strengthens the abdomen. Combine yoga meditation with Pilates breathing techniques to dissipate stress and promote relaxation. So, combine both yoga and Pilates to radically improve your physical and mental health.

Guidelines for Practicing Yoga and Pilates
  • Do not perform these exercises on a full stomach. Give a gap of at least three hours after a meal before you start yoga or Pilates practice.
  • For better results, yoga poses should be performed barefoot. Use a yoga mat or blanket for firm padding.
  • Wear comfortable and loose clothes that enable free movement.
  • The yoga practice room should be well ventilated and spacious to enable free movement of hands and legs, without bumping into anything.
  • Focus on the effect of the poses on your body.
  • Do not overstretch yourself, stop immediately if you feel the pose is too difficult for you.
  • Focus on your breath and use only your nose and not the mouth for inhaling and exhaling.

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