It’s 2018, and Pilates and yoga are both enormously popular ways to work out and improve mental health. Both have the goal of improving strength, flexibility, and mental clarity; but because the two are so similar and both have many positive aspects, some people find themselves wondering “should I do Pilates or Yoga?” If that sounds like you, read below to weigh the pros and cons of each!
Discovering Your Inner Fitness Alignment
If you are someone who is primarily looking to connect deeply with your inner self while exercising, yoga is a great option. Besides fitness, the main goal of yoga is to increase bodily awareness and forget about any stress that may be going on in your life. Yoga is also a good form of exercise for those who want to get more fit and toned in a lower-impact, less intense manner. Yoga (particularly beginner classes) is gentle — and any yogi will tell you that yoga should never hurt, only stretch.
Another great aspect of yoga is that even a small amount every day can have a huge impact on your life. Even just five to ten minutes a day on the mat is a great way to start reconnecting and gaining more flexibility. Because there are so many yoga studios around, it’s incredibly easy to find a good one, unroll the mat, and do some yoga!
Of course, yoga may not be for everyone. For those who are looking to substantially increase core strength, or who want a workout less focused on slow, gentle stretching, yoga may not be the answer. If you are looking for a high paced, more difficult and physically rewarding workout to make you sweat, yoga will not be as good of an option. For many people, yoga can seem daunting; because unlike running or other common workouts, beginners do need some instruction. If you are someone who needs specific instruction in yoga, going to a yoga studio may be your only realistic option, and that means feeling like a “beginner” for quite some time.
Pilates: Intensity + Mental Acuity
Let’s talk about Pilates! Similar to yoga, Pilates is focused on improving strength, flexibility, and mental state. However, yoga is more open to individual interpretation, whereas Pilates focuses more on specific technique. This means that Pilates is great for people looking to improve balance and precision. Traditionally, Pilates has been done on mats on the ground. However, many studios are switching to the Reformer method, in which a Reformer machine is used to get better results than with a mat alone. In fact, the only reason more pilates studios don’t have reformer beds is because they are specialized, costly equipment that not every studio can afford.
Because Pilates is mainly focused on the core of the body, it is a great form of exercise for people looking to get a slimmer, more toned waist and defined abs. Cardio is a great way to get fit for some people, but for others, cardio is a nightmare — they just hate it! Pilates is an anaerobic exercise, meaning that there is less cardio involved in it, and more strength and flexibility. Like yoga, pilates can be a low-impact activity for the newly initiated, which means it’s great for those who aren’t quite ready to be pushed to their limits during one of their first workouts.
Obviously, Pilates has many great aspects. But, what about some cons? Well, although yoga can be done at home once the practitioner becomes advanced, pilates requires the use of a studio any time you want to get your workout in. However, studios also come with instructors who can give good tips and help improve technique, which is not as easily accomplished if you choose to work out by yourself at home. Also similar to yoga, Pilates is not necessarily a great option for those looking to get better at running or rapidly gain giant muscles, like weightlifting.
When it comes to the eternal question of Pilates vs yoga, there are numerous things to consider when choosing your new fitness passion. Yoga is a better way to move gently and unwind, while Pilates is a better way to improve core strength, total fitness, and overall body posture. Because the cons of each form or exercise are pretty similar, people trying to choose between the two must look at the pros, as well as their individual situation.
However, for most people looking for fitness gains first and foremost, Pilates will be the hands-down winner. Pilates is a good mix of the gentle flow of yoga and the more intense muscle gain of a HIT workout. However, what really makes this form of exercise stand out from yoga is that it provides nearly every aspect of yoga with just a little more fitness! So, if you are looking to reconnect your mind to your body, improve flexibility and posture, and gain some muscle mass, Pilates is the best option. Obviously, each type of fitness has its advantages, so choosing one ultimately boils down to what you really want. So, choose the option that makes you feel your best! In the end, either option is going to improve your health, improve your mood, and improve the quality of your life! SO get out there, get stretching, and get healthy!