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Pilates vs Yoga: Battle of the Mat

Pilates vs Yoga: Battle of the Mat

Wow! That summer went fast!

After navigating my business, school holidays and studying to become a nutritionist, I have finally found some time to write – and it feels good to be back!

Today I wanted to talk about pilates versus yoga. Fanatic follwoers of either practise will wax lyrical about their chosen stretchy-pastime. So, if you were thinking of trying a class, this is a little guide to help you choose which one would suit you.

woman on tip toes by yoga and pilates mat

Pilates

A sequence of exercises that focus on proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance. Pilates focuses on trying to relax the muscles by focusing on breathing and using small stablisers to improve muscle strength and stability. Pilates is particularly good for people suffering with a bad back or back pain, because it builds core strength that helps support the spine and align all muscles in the abdominal area.

Centring

Strengthening the Core, which increases energy and strength through-out.

Concentration

On the correct and safe movement each time you exercise

Control

Slowing down the motion of the exercise and really feeling it in the area your working on.

Precision

Sometimes there is a common misconception that Pilates is ‘easy’, this is because the exercise is done too quickly, without proper concentration on the right muscle.

Flow

Is involved in every exercise and is what stiches everything together.

Breath

Without breath, none of the other elements can be properly completed to the best of your ability.

Yoga

It’s kinda easy to get confused about yoga – with Hatha, Vinyasa flow, Ashtanga, Bikram/Hot Yoga and CorePower classes available – just to name a few:

Hatha yoga is good for beginners as it provides a good introduction to the practise.

Vinyasa is good for beginners too, and introduces sun salutations – a series of postures that aligns the entire body, each movement is matched to the breath.

I personally love Ashtanga yoga. This is a dynamic and strong practise, linking breath to movement through fast moving sequences. Prepare to sweat and work hard in this practice!

 yoga and pilates stretch on mat

In yoga, you concentrate on lengthening and stretching the muscles with deep breathing and mediation or relaxation – so it’s good for mental wellbeing too. You should come out of a yoga class feeling both energised and relaxed.

Yoga is great for toning, strengthening, deep breathing and mental clarity. You can do yoga anywhere – I recently went on a paddle board and did some yoga practice! It was truly inspiring to take in the sea and practice my breathwork, all whilst doing a headstand! Yoga has been a fantastic complement to my running too, developing my muscle strength and flexibility.

woman head standing on paddle board

Ultimately, I can’t tell you which is ‘better’, because it depends on your personal goals. Yoga compliments higher impact exercises, like HIIT or running. Pilates is great for rehabilitation, toning and accommodating a bad back.
Depending on your personal goals, one or the other might be better for you!

My advice? Give them both ago and see which feels good! You have to want to exercise, so find something you fall in love with.