Bikram Yoga is also known as “hot” yoga and is performed in a room heated to between 95 and 100 degrees. Yoga and Pilates often fall into the same category, and whilst it is true that they are similar in many ways, there are some key factors that differentiate them. Another thing to note is that there are varying forms of both practices, but by breaking down the differences, you will be able to choose the best one for you.
Mind, Body and Spirit
Although both practices understand and aim to strengthen the connection between the mind and the body, it is Bikram Yoga that aims to explore spirituality in conjunction with body and spirit through meditation.
Whilst Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago, Pilates is a much more modern discipline, developed in the 1920s by Joseph H. Pilates. Yoga has a number of different forms including Hatha, Ashtanga and Bikram.
In Pilates, the main focus is mind and body together with physical fitness. You will concentrate on your core (the muscles and attachments between your hips and shoulders) and give special attention to your abs and spine alignment. With Yoga, you will use not only your core, but your full body to support your movements meaning that every muscle will be worked out equally.
Bikram Yoga brings together all the benefits of Yoga but is practiced in a room heated to over 100°F (40°C) which promotes flexibility and cleansing of the body through sweating. Often, Bikram will concentrate on 27 postures and two breathing exercises.
Right for Me?
Both Bikram and Pilates are wonderful ways to strengthen and tone muscles, relieve stress, improve circulation and increase flexibility but should you wish to add a spiritual element to your physical development, Yoga might be the better option for you. Should you wish to focus more on strengthening your core, then Pilates could be the one to choose. As a starting point, perhaps take a class of each!