Which practice is right for you?
Let’s be honest, the world is split between two body stretching troops. But which side should you take? It’s a question all too familiar for health and fitness experts. So what’s the verdict - would pilates or yoga take the cake in a strength and flexibility face off? The truth is, the answer depends on you, on what health and fitness means to you, and on what it is you’re trying to achieve.
We called in our pal Bree Corbett from Elixr Health Clubs to shed a little light on exactly how the strength and lengthening routines differ...
Yoga and Pilates have evolved independently in different corners of the world: yoga in India, and Pilates in Germany. While they are different disciplines, they both have benefits for the mind and body – and together they are a powerful combo for holistic health and wellness.
Yoga: union of the body, mind and breath
This ancient system of philosophies, principles and practices aims to cultivate health and happiness, as well as a greater sense of self-awareness and higher consciousness. While many people in the West are familiar with the physical practice of yoga, a true yogic lifestyle goes beyond this to include proper nutrition, relaxation, meditation, and study of the self and ancient philosophy. It isn’t just about mastering a system of movement; it’s an entire way of being.
I have found yoga to be incredible for relieving stress and anxiety, and for developing resilience, which I believe is crucial for long-term happiness. Yoga’s focus on correct diaphragmatic breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the key system that allows us to feel calm and peaceful. When our body is calm and peaceful it burns energy efficiently (it helps to burn fat), strengthens our immune system and calms our monkey mind.
Yoga is also unsurpassed in enhancing flexibility and increasing range of joint motion. For long distance runners, cyclists and CrossFit junkies with sore and stiff muscles, yin yoga is the perfect antidote with its key focus on loosening stiff connective tissues in the body.
Pilates: posture, alignment and core conditioning
Popular with dancers and gymnasts, Pilates is also used globally by health practitioners looking to rehabilitate clients with back injuries and other structural ailments.
I have seen first-hand the impact a regular Pilates practice can have on the rehabilitation of a back injury. Unable to sleep from chronic pain and fearful of being on pain medication for the rest of my life, I started practicing Pilates 3–4 times a week. Within 3 months, I was pain free. Understanding that the foundations of functional movement and athletic performance all stem from core strength, correct alignment and posture, I knew Pilates was going to be a permanent fixture in my life
Keen on giving one or maybe even both body balancing practices a try? Come visit us in-store and score yourself a FREE Elixr class pass with each nutritional supplement purchase!