As a Pilates and Yoga teacher I often get asked which discipline I prefer. My answer is always the same – “There are benefits to both and I practice both each week”. Both are beneficial in many different ways and help in different aspects of body and mind.
Joseph Pilates developed the Pilates System called Controlology and his 34 move sequence to transform, strengthen and stretch the body and this is where Pilates really began. Joseph wanted this system to be phased into all schools and so it became a way of life and stopped the bad postural habits that creep in as teenage years and then reinforced when working life pushes us into repetitive positions forming postural habits. The core gets weak and we stop pulling ourselves up in trees, doing handstands and hanging.
Youth makes us invincible doesn’t it? If only we still had kept the movement patterns and habits formed at our early age now, or we could turn back the clock to make sure we stayed strong and active. Many of my clients find Pilates not because they think it looks great or love it, they are told they should do it or they have heard they should do it for their core and bad back. The body awareness that Pilates will take you through your whole life and workplace.
But Yoga is SO DIFFERENT and equally as amazing. The movement, the strength, the breath, the stretch, the mental challenge. YES all of those things. How can I compare the two, I can’t – they are unique, they are different, they offer totally different things. Our body reacts differently to each.
Yoga is vast – in one class you maybe dancing around stomping and chanting, another you maybe standing on your head, another you maybe completely mat based holding poses using props and another you maybe in 37 degree heat. It is a very individual practice and each teacher will teach their own style. All of these different types are what they say – different. You can be a runner, you can trail run, track sprint, marathon run, jog, do events or run on your own. Its the same but different. They offer different things.
The body NEEDS strength and mobility. FACT. The two need to work together, one without the other will cause problems. To someone who has never tried either or just practices one discipline will find it hard to see the difference and the benefits to both.
Both Yoga and Pilates are both celebrated for their numerous health benefits, from offering connection to the body and stress relief, to developing flexibility, strength, control and endurance. Each teacher can have their own way and there are countless interpretations of both disciplines, but what links them both is breath work. We see over and over again celebrities on Reformers and doing Pilates and Yoga and the recent program about Andy Murray showed him repeatedly using Reformers and Cadillacs (Pilates large equipment). That is because they work and they work together, we link the breath and the body.
If you’re looking to develop core strength and balance, when practiced regularly yoga and Pilates are both ideal exercises for this. Many of the poses in yoga and exercises in Pilates involve supporting your bodyweight, they also work various muscles all over your body strengthening and increasing your mobility as you work.
My body tells me what I need – sometimes I am craving Pilates and sometimes I need the headspace and calmness of Yoga. But both are equal in ranking for me and my passion is for both. There is no winner for me. I LOVE PILATES AND YOGA.