Yoga Versus Pilates

No-one knows exactly when yoga began, but Buddha arrived 2500 years ago and in archaeological digs in Pakistan digs figures have been unearthed in yoga like poses from over 5000 years ago.

Pilates by comparison is in its infancy having been created by German gymnast Joseph Pilates as rehabilitation for soldiers wounded in World War I. It was quickly taken up by dancers and performing artists looking for strong, long and lean muscles.

So... ummm not sure about you, but I don’t live in Pakistan and I’m neither a soldier and with my feet – ballet and other forms of dancing were pretty much out the door at the age of 6 :)

All I want is to build and strengthen my core, my spine, feel relaxed... oh and have a body to die for – easy right? So which do I do – do I become a yogi or join the latest hip Pilates studio?

Yoga: Is a life philosophy encompassing ethics and spirituality, as well as a series of poses intended to restore wellbeing, promote flexibility and boost vitality.

Pilates: Uses concentration and breathing to create a mind-body connection, but there is no spiritual element and the discipline is unashamedly a series of exercises focused on the core, abdominals, lower back and legs.

So – which one's for me (and you)? Well both incorporate breathing as a basis so if this kind of thing embarrasses you then keep to the gyms. Yoga does require a degree of flexibility even at a beginner level but the right teacher can help you with this. Both have a number of benefits including: increased flexibility, toning and strengthening, improved circulation, reduced anxiety and stress, improved balance and posture but the two differ in some benefits:

Additional Benefits of Yoga

Additional Benefits of Pilates

· Strengthens the immune system

· Improves concentration and focus

· Helps manage chronic health conditions, such as asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, back pain, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis

· Builds bone density

· Encourages the connection of the mental physical and spiritual selves

· Strengthens deep abdominal muscles

· Increases range and motion in the joints

· Engages the mind and enhances the body

· Promotes recovery from strain or injury

· Helps restore postural alignment, offers relief from back pain and joint stress

How to choose? First start at looking what you would like to achieve and see which ones suits best. Besides, you can always change your mind or even do BOTH.

Toned core and relaxed state of mind here I come :)