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Yoga or pilates: which one is for you?


Yoga vs. Pilates

Credit: istock

Let me say this first: Yoga and Pilates are both forms of “whole body” exercise, and therefore, I’m in love with both of them. They’ve both got their benefits and their nuances, therefore some people will be better suited to one or the other.

First of all, a brief run down from my perspective.

Yoga

Yoga is a very old form of exercise, meditation and mindset, developed in India over hundreds of years.

Traditionally yoga encompassed not only the exercise (strength and stretching) component, but also meditation, attitude, and lifestyle study.

Our westernized version in our many local Yoga studios composes of using pre-determined yoga “poses” in a certain order, aimed at utilizing the musculoskeletal system, respiratory system and organ systems of the whole body.

Usually there will be minimal aids in a yoga class, with the exception of a bolster or foam block occasionally.

A yoga class can be quite challenging or quite relaxing, depending on the style, but will almost always have a balance of stretching, strengthening and balancing components.

Pilates

Pilates was founded by Dr Joseph Pilates last century in New York.

Pilates has always had the aim of assisting with musculoskeletal ailments or weaknesses.

A yoga class can be quite challenging or quite relaxing, depending on the style, but will almost always have a balance of stretching, strengthening and balancing components.

Dr Pilates recognized the importance of knowing how to control individual muscles within our body, and developed a series of exercises aimed at isolating, activating and strengthening dysfunctional muscles, followed by bringing these newly strengthened muscles together to create a more efficient way of moving.

Pilates uses not only mat-based work, but also machines such as the reformer and trapeze table, plus others.

Pilates classes may be one on one, or in a group.

So which should you try?

Pilates has always had the aim of assisting with musculoskeletal ailments or weaknesses.

There’s no blanket rules when it comes to the Pilates vs Yoga debate. Some of my patients find Pilates boring as anything, whereas others love the discipline and challenge of it. On the other hand, some of my patients love Yoga because of not only the physical aspects, but the mental relaxation and concentration required. Others however, find it a bit too “hippy” for their liking.

What I generally advise patients is that if they’re bouncing back from an injury and want to try one of these modalities, their best bet is to firstly try a 1:1 Pilates class, as they are more likely to have the exercises tailored specifically to their injury and will thus get the most benefit from a rehab perspective.

Once I’m happy that they’re not at risk of injury, I’m happy to let them decide as to continue the Pilates, or give Yoga a bash.

Alternatively, if someone is really stiff, works in a sedentary job, and requires a good “all over” workout or whole body stretch, I’ll suggest that they try a yoga class and see how they go!

Both of these forms of exercise can be fantastically beneficial. If you don’t like one, why not try the other?

Let me know your experiences with Yoga or Pilates in the comments below!

Keep well,

Claire



 

Claire Richardson | WELLBEING COMMUNITY BLOGGER

Dr Claire Richardson loves what osteopathy offers her patients and how it can help people of all different ages and backgrounds. Claire treats a wide range of patients, from the young through to the elderly, including office workers, athletes, pregnant women and tradesmen. Claire enjoys treating all musculoskeletal ailments, from sports injuries to postural problems. She employs a wide variety of techniques in her treatment, including soft tissue massage, dry needling, and joint and muscle manipulation where appropriate. As part of her treatments, Claire advises on contributing lifestyle factors such as activity and diet which enables her patients to have an optimal and speedy recovery.