These days, Pilates and Yoga are often incorrectly grouped under the same banner. A lot of my patients ask me whether they should do Pilates or Yoga? Is one superior to the other, and what are the benefits of each?
The first thing to note is that Yoga and Pilates are quite different to each other. Whether you should do one versus the other depends on what your goals are, or what you are hoping to get out of it.
Yoga has been practised for thousands of years and was originally developed to ensure the body was limber enough to sustain postures without discomfort whilst meditating. Yoga classes will usually consist of physical postures and stretching, as well as breathing and meditation. Yoga is a holistic practice based on ancient practices and can be helpful for improving flexibility and relieving stress.
Pilates, as you may already know, is a more modern form of exercise. It focuses on flexibility but also strength and stability. The exercises used in Pilates aim to strengthen the “core” and stabilising muscles, whilst still maintaining flexibility. For more information, see Stuart’s previous post on Pilates – not just for skirts.
If you are unsure which of Pilates or Yoga will benefit you more, and especially if you are recovering from pain or injury, it is best to consult your Physiotherapist. People who need or want to improve their flexibility, and would benefit from some stress relief, may find yoga beneficial. In some cases, Yoga may aggravate an injury and is best avoided while pain is present for people with spinal disc injuries and in some other cases. If you need to improve your core strength or stability, as well as flexibility, or have had recent pain or injury, then you would probably benefit more from Pilates. At Bend + Mend, all of our Pilates sessions are led by a qualified Physiotherapist who is there to modify your programme to benefit you most and minimise any symptom aggravation.