Yoga / Pilates: The Benefits Of A Combined Workout

Yoga / Pilates: The Benefits Of A Combined Workout

Your body will greatly benefit from a yoga pilates workout, as the health benefits provided from these two practices are endless. Read on to discover why...

How is Yoga Different From Pilates?

Yoga is a 3,000-year-old tradition. Hatha yoga is the asana practice. Classical ashtanga yoga has eight limbs that include meditation,concentration and self-study. There are many styles of yoga asana practice including Ashtanga, Integral, Iyengar, kundalini and Bikram. All focus on breathing in certain ways and using the postures to keep the mind and body healthy.

Joseph Pilates (1880-1967) designed what is known as Pilates during WWI when he was held in a war interment camp in England. After the war ended, he moved to New York and taught Pilates from 1926-1966. Pilates mat work focuses on strengthening the core abdominal muscles to stabilize the spine. He also developed exercises on special equipment now known as the Reformer which has a pulley system, as well as other apparatus, such as the barrell.

Yoga is a spiritual practice that in the West is mainly practiced for asanas and meditation to destress. Pilates is often used to rehabilitate or preven injuries. Both complement each other.

What Are the Specific Benefits of Yoga?

Yoga poses produce a "squeeze and soak" action of the joints to keep them healthy. Yoga does the same for the internal organs. For example, a simple seated twist can move blood through the kidneys while also creating a therapeutic twist in the upper mid-thoracic spine.

Yoga poses help improve posture and practitioners sometimes report gaining as much as an inch from regular, consistent practice, as their spines elongate.

Inversions such as shoulderstand and headstand help stimulate the endocrine system by bringing blood to the pituitary gland in the brain, the thyroid glands in the throat and adrenal glands on top of each kidney. 

What Are the Specific Benefits of Pilates?

Pilates provides efficient exercises on both mat and on specially designed apparatus, such as the Reformer, to build important core abdominal strength.

By building the core abdominals muscles, Pilates improves posture and also give the body a long, lean look.

For example, the classic "Hundreds" performed lying on a mat, engages the deep transversus abdominis muscles of the belly. By doing these belly-firming exercises, trims the stomach and provides important stabilization to the spine.

Why Do Yoga and Pilates in the Same Workout?

Each offers different benefits. Yoga can lengthen and strengthen muscles and provide joint stability. If you do classic Sun Salutations, you get a slight cardio workout, too. There is a strong emphasis on breathing in yoga and that cultivates mind and body awareness.

Pilates is excellent for stabilizing the spine with intense abdominal exercises originally designed for dancers. The idea is that once the core abdominals are strengthened, the spine is at less risk for injury.

Doing both yoga and pilates in the same workout will provide you with the benefit of active exercise, from yoga salutations, and pilates will help tone the belly and hips, sculpting the body.

For example, the classic "hundreds" performed lying on a mat, engages the deep transversus abdominis muscles of the belly. Doing these belly-firming exercises trims the stomach and provides important stabilization to the spine.

  • Benefits of yoga

    Great post! The benefits of yoga are still unknown to many people. Different types of yoga have different effect on our health. However, it is important to understand the yoga basics so that the practitioner can perform the asanas perfectly and experience the benefits of yoga.

  • Rebecca

    Very detailed and informative information, contained herein. I am elated to have encountered it. I just started doing both Pilates& Yoga at home with a DVD and although a knew a little bit about both, was interested in learning more in depth information.

    Thank you.