Yoga or Pilates?

For many people , Yoga and Pilates look very similar – there are no power or cardio loads, exercises are performed slowly and consciously , with calm music. Pilates and yoga are wellness systems that include exercises to develop flexibility, endurance, and concentration. Regular exercises tidy up the body, allow you to find harmony with yourself. In this, both areas of fitness are similar.

But, having examined   these   practice closely, we  can find a lot of differences between them

    What is yoga?

     Yoga is the ancient Indian system of human self-development, which originated long before our era. This is a spiritual tradition, experience and wisdom of many generations that millions of people around the world have followed to this day.

Translated from Sanskrit, yoga means “union, communication, harmony.” Those. the unity of the physical and mental state of a person, the harmony of health and spiritual beauty. The purpose of classes is to achieve and maintain this unity.

It is impossible to imagine yoga without performing various asanas (static postures) that help improve the body. But physical practice is only part of the philosophy of yoga, one of the tools for working on consciousness. It also includes:

  • rules of personal and social behavior;
  • breathing exercises;
  • meditation
  • singing mantras;
  • body cleansing;
  • concentration of attention;
  • desire for complete control over the senses.

Therefore, yoga is a way of life aimed at achieving a balance of physical and psychological health, and not just a set of static exercises that develop flexibility and endurance.

What is pilates?

   Pilates is a system of healing the body, based on the dynamic performance of exercises that are performed in a specific technique and sequence. Their goal is to develop flexibility, improve the condition of joints and spine, posture and coordination of movements.

Pilates, unlike yoga, is a young trend in fitness. The German trainer Joseph Pilates developed gymnastic exercises for the rehabilitation of patients suffering from diseases of the musculature system at the beginning of the 20th century.

6 fundamental differences between Pilates and Yoga.

  • Yoga is the oldest system of self-development, philosophy, lifestyle. Pilates is a relatively young wellness system for the body, one of the types of fitness.
  • Pilates training is aimed at creating a healthy body, practicing yoga – at achieving harmony of the body, spirit and mind.
  • Many exercises and asanas are similar, but have a significant difference in technique. If in classical yoga you need to enter a pose and fix it for a long time (static load), then in Pilates the main thing is movement. All exercises are dynamic, repeated several times. Important consistent articulation of the spine and body muscles when entering and exiting the position.
  • Pilates breathing control helps to concentrate on doing the exercise and working muscles. Ancient practice provides breathing, as one of the steps to self-improvement (pranayama).
  • In Pilates, the muscles of the back and cortex are mainly worked out, in yoga – all muscle groups.
  • In classical hatha yoga additional equipment is not used. In Pilates classes  fitball, rings, rollers are actively used.

In my opinion, you should try both this practice and chose which is most suitable for you. However, if  you want to get a little more than just a beautiful and healthy body, then you may want choose yoga. After all, ancient practice is also aimed at working with the mind, includes methods of spiritual development and self-improvement. Practice will show what is right for you.

A re-education for my body….

I’ve been dancing since the age of four which led to me pursuing a career in the field as an educator. What draws me to dance is that it can never be fully perfected – you are always working harder and always becoming stronger, but you never reach perfection. Some of the best ballerinas in the world attend technique classes daily as they always look to improve their technique further.
I find myself drawn to Pilates the same sort of way. my dance background has given me body awareness and sensitivity, however, no matter how much I practice at an exercise, I always find something new to improve on. I am still at the Beginner level series moving on into the Intermediate series but I still find every exercise which I’ve practiced since Day 1 equally challenging today. I kind of love this about pilates… It has re-educated my body to be more sensitive to movement, to change, to articulation and most importantly taught me to be more sensitive to breath. I enjoy the challenge it presents to me.
I see myself in the practice of pilates for a long long time… I enjoy the challenge that it presents my body, although closely related to dance, it feels like movement in unchartered territory.
By: S.G.

Article 2 – Pilates Roll Up and Down – Instructions for a beginner

The roll up and roll down
Step 1:
Lie back on the floor in a neutral pelvic position.
Keep both your knees bent with your feet planted on the floor
Your arms sit beside your body with your palms facing down to the floor.
Step 2:
With an inhale, gentle nod your head off the floor and raise your arms up
with fingertips pointing to the ceiling.
Bring your eye focus to your belly button.
(*Check that your rectus abdominals do not bunch up engage from the transverse abdominals)
Step 3:
On your exhale, with a strong engagement of your core, start rolling up through your
spine vertebrae by vertebrae. This articulates your spine from your upper back, middle
back to lower back.
(*Check to ensure your shoulder do not round forward and your scapula is kept depressed)
Step 4:
On the completion of your roll up, inhale and stack up the spine seating upright.
Hands are held in the front of you.
Step 5:
Exhale and scoop the belly in and stretch forward. Maintain your C-curve of your spine
(*Ensure a strong engaged abdominal core)
Step 6:
Inhale and stack up the spine seating upright again
Step 7:
Exhale, scoop in the belly, forming a C-curve, bring the eye focus to the belly button and roll down
one vertebrae at a time in a controlled manner till you return to your starting position.
(*Ensure this is a controlled movement, try your best not to jerk down through the position)
By: S.G.

Article 1 – Technical Anatomical Detail of a Single Leg Stretch

Today I will discuss the Pilates mat exercise: The Single Leg Stretch.
The single leg stretch exercise is done in supine position and is an exercise suitable for beginners. This exercise targets the abdominal muscles and helps to improve co-ordination of movement of the body.
This exercise is first in a series of five that belong to the Stomach Series. As such it is important to begin this exercise with the pelvis/lower back in an imprint position.
Preparing in chair position
In an imprint position, an active contraction of the muscles in the abdominal wall, namely the transverse abdominals along with the contraction of the pelvic floor muscles both help produce the posterior pelvic tilt needed for imprinting. The imprint position is done with an exhalation.
The legs are then taken into the chair position, which is a flexion at the hip joint and the knee joint. The muscles that assist in the flexion of the hip & knee are the iliopsoas, the muscles of the quadriceps, the rectus femoris, the sartorius, pectineus, the tensor fascia latae and gracilis. The illipsoas is responsible for the flexion at the hip.
Movement of the upper body
Thereafter, the upper body raises off the floor with an inhalation. In this position it is important that the scapula is stabilised (depressed) with the simultaneous contraction of the lower trapezius and the lower serratus anterior muscles.
The neck is kept long and the chin is slightly tucked, contracting bilaterally, the longus colli flexes the head and straightens the cervical spine assisting in the flexion of the head. The head is kept fixed in its position and the sternocleidomastoid helps elevate the sternum and clavicle assisting in the inspiration necessary for this exercise.
Movement and co-ordination of the legs
The flexion of the spine is assisted by the flexing of the spine is assisted by the muscles of the abdominal region, rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques, however the primary focus should be on the transversus abdominis which also acts as an anterior spinal stabiliser.
The arms are held in flexion by the side of the legs through the use of the active contraction of the anterior deltoid and the pectoralis major.
As the movement of the exercise begins, one leg stretches out to the front of the body with the foot in plantar flexion and is kept off the floor. This is an extension of both the knee and the hip joint with the muscles working in opposition to the flexion. The hip extensors are the gluteus maximus and the hamstring group, the knee extensors is the biceps femoris. As the foot is in plantarflexion, the gastrocnemius and soleus are contracted to produce the movement of the ankle joint forward.
The other leg is drawn in to the body bringing the knee in towards the chest with further flexion at the hip joint. The arms hold on to this leg drawn in and the arms aid in maintaining the proper alignment of the leg. With the use of the arms, the biceps brachii, teres major and the latissimus dorsi are engaged.
As the movement is done with a switch of sides the active muscle groups take an interchange on each side.
Prepared By: S.G.