Stretching 101: Pilates vs Yoga

In a battle of Pilates vs yoga for the ultimate stretching exercise, both mediums offer similar principles through slightly different applications. Though the two exercises are both built around concentration, control, breathings and centering your body, there are many differences between the two that make them a great pair to use together to achieve maximum flexibility and toning.

Yoga vs Pilates: Stretching or Strengthening

Generally, yoga is more based in stretching your muscles, while Pilates is focused on strength. Though stretching and strength building are elements of both forms, the difference is the emphasis placed on each. Pilates is often a helpful exercise for people looking to develop a core strength and cross train their body. Pilates can be very helpful for people that practice yoga so that they can increase stability and hold poses longer. Yoga’s stretching can provide a nice complement to Pilates’ more strength training approach.

Yoga vs Pilates: Breathing and Flow

In both forms, breathing is an important element to becoming a skilled practioner. Breathing is thought to cleanse the body and enhance the depth and movement of exercise. Yoga uses a lot more meditation related to breathing and includes numerous techniques based completely on the breath. Pilates focuses on deep breathing and the coordination of breath with movement to provide detoxification, rejuvenation and enhanced awareness.

Yoga vs Pilates: Spirituality

Yoga is often thought to be more spiritual than Pilates. However, both are rooted in the body, mind and spirit discipline, an element that will be very helpful as you begin stretching and lengthening your body to perform exercises. You will not often see meditation and chanting as part of your Pilates routine, though you may in a yoga routine. However, Pilates was originally developed to be a way to enhance practiioners’ lives beyond just fitness.

Yoga vs Pilates: Beneficial Aspects

Both the strength building and stretching of Pilates and yoga have been known to reduce stress and increase muscle mass without creating bulk. They have also both been extremely effective in rehabilitation, in part due to their low impact stretching postures. They are both able to be adjusted to fit a variety of fitness levels and abilities.

Yoga vs Pilates: Classes and Form

To really experience the benefits brought on by Yoga or Pilates, it is critical to have a teacher and to practice regularly. Both forms have a full assortment of poses and exercises that can be studied at length on their own or combined. You will need to have someone train you for at least some of your workout to ensure that you are doing moves properly. Classes are generally available nationwide at gyms, community colleges and community centers.

Pilates vs Yoga: Verdict

In a head-to-head battle on which form is better for stretching, there is no easy answer. Both have their benefits to improving flexibility and both can be effective in strength building. For the maximum benefit, you can practice both either combined in one workout or on alternating days, and take your fitness and mental clarity to a whole new level.

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