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Yoga and Pilates, Understanding the Differences

By HERWriter
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There is a tremendous amount of interest these days in doing Yoga and Pilates together. Both are very sophisticated systems of integrative exercise with a lot in common.

However, Pilates and yoga are also quite different from each other, and it is in the differences that we find many of the complimentary aspects of the two that make them such a great team. I typically encourage clients to practice both as a there are many reciprocal benefits. Pilates has some similarities to a Yoga class focusing on the breath to move you through a movement, but the emphasis is on physical change rather than spiritual development like Yoga. In fact the creator of Pilates, Joseph Pilates, has been noted saying “you will feel the changes in your body in ten sessions, see the changes in 20 sessions and have a whole new body in 30 sessions.”

Pilates was founded by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s. He originally called his work "contrology,” focusing on integrated movement through the body, mind and spirit. He originally designed the progression of exercises to help bedridden soldiers in World War 1. He then immigrated to the United States and opened the first Pilates Studio in New York where he worked primarily dancers, actors and athletes. His progression of exercises consists of twisting, stretching, pushing, pulling and rolling movements.

The definition of Yoga is union of the mind, body and spirit. Yoga has existed in some form for thousands of years. It is the practice of mind-body physical exercise. Yoga for many is a lifestyle where they embrace the eight limbs of Yoga. The purpose of those eight limbs is to go beyond the limitations of one’s ego and reach a greater knowledge of being or enlightenment. In a fitness setting, we focus on the limbs of Yoga which encompass the union of mind, body and the breath. Yoga focuses on the importance of flexibility and strength through stability and mobility. The body is placed in various positions that increase strength in parts of the body and flexibility in other parts. These positions or postures are often named things in nature such as tree and moon or after animals such as cat or cow.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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