Most people know of yoga and more than a few have attended classes in their lives. Pilates is also now becoming a very well-known form of exercise, and there are many benefits associated with both of these exercise disciplines. Often, yoga disciples tend to stick to just doing yoga, while people who do Pilates are usually more inclined to do other forms of exercise too. While yoga is certainly one of the most effective exercise regimes around, combining it with Pilates can provide other benefits that one would not get if only yoga was practised, and by the same token, Pilates fans will also benefit from attending yoga classes.
How Yoga and Pilates Differ
Yoga is one of the oldest exercise forms on earth and it dates back thousands of years. There are many different styles of yoga. The exercises consist of different postures (or asanas), which are combined with breathing techniques. Both the postures and the breathing are used to maintain a healthy body, but it is not only the muscles that benefit from the movements, rather the entire body, including the internal organs. No apparatus is used during movements.
Pilates is a much younger practise and was invented around 1930. It focusses on strengthening the core muscles that support the skeletal system and the spine. Pilates can consist only of mat workouts, but typically, specifically designed apparatus will also form part of the workout. Breathing techniques and concentration are also used to make the movements more effective and to reduce stress.
Benefits of Combining Yoga and Pilates
Because these two forms of exercise provide their own benefits, combining them into an exercise regime will yield a lot more benefits for the body, organs and mind. Yoga will typically lengthen the muscles and make them stronger and more flexible, and provide stability and balance. Pilates places focus on the core muscles and also lengthens and strengthens the muscles. Yoga will benefit your organs, while Pilates will benefit your muscular structure.
Body awareness is improved by both Pilates and yoga because both forms of exercise require a strong focus on movement and breathing techniques. It helps to improve the attention to how the body moves and correct small postural mistakes during everyday movements. This in turn helps to balance the body better, and to avoid bad posture that can result in muscle aches and pain. It also means that there will be less risk of spine injuries.
Yoga will generally provide a good cardio workout, especially when sun salutations are performed or when postures are constantly changed, while Pilates will tone the muscles and elongate them, and sculpt the body for a leaner, taller look.
If you would like to find out more about the benefits of combining yoga and Pilates, why not visit our studio at BASI Pilates in Pretoria? We will be happy to answer any questions and to perform a consultation to gauge your fitness level and recommend the best types of exercise for you. Give us a call today to find out more!