Pilates or Yoga: Which is a better workout?

Pilates or Yoga: Which is a better workout?

While many people may wonder if they should do yoga or Pilates, the real question to ask is should you combine the two for an optimal workout routine. Many celebrities and fitness trainers practice both Pilates and yoga and find that the the two fitness disciplines truly complement each other.

“I like how yoga aids in flexibility which allows Pilates practitioners to go deeper in to their practice and connect easier with their core. When your limbs are loose, you can access your powerhouse easier,” explains Pilates and yoga trainer, Kristin McGee. “I also think yoga adds a lot of standing work that you won’t find as much of in Pilates so you can find your core when your practicing your balance standing. The two are very complementary to each other and I love them both.”

Yoga is an Eastern approach to exercise which originated in India. Yoga, which also has spiritual and mental aspects, focuses on specific bodily postures and breath control. The different yoga poses focus on flexibility and strengthening of the muscles around the spine. As a result, “posture is improved, thus alleviating back, shoulder and neck pain.”

Yoga also includes deep breathing and simple meditation which is practiced to achieve relaxation. As a result, yoga has been shown to “lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol even after one session.”

Pilates is a Western approach to exercise created by Joseph Pilates in Europe, and then the U.S. Pilates exercises focus on strengthening the core stomach muscles while concentrating on controlled breathing. A variety of exercises done while laying down, sitting or with equipment can work virtually every muscle in your body. While almost all muscles can be toned and tightened through the various exercises, Pilates does a better job at strengthening your core than yoga.

For those wondering if they should try Pilates, celebrity trainer Kristin McGee has this advice: “Pilates is a lifelong practice and one that keeps you centered, strong, flexible and healthy. It’s something you can do in any stage of life and it complements all other activities. I would say everyone should get acquainted with it and use any of the movements they can on a daily basis to live in their bodies in a way that feels amazing!”

Many fitness instructors like Kristin McGee started out doing yoga and then added Pilates to their regimen. In fact, the woman behind the Pilates Power Gym, Denise DuBarry Hay, got her start in the fitness world through yoga. Her love of yoga has been a great complement to Pilates.

“Yoga and Pilates are similar in that they both promote flexibility and stretching, and muscle development, however, they approach these results in different ways,” Denise explains. “Many yoga postures are isometric stretches that you hold for 20-30 seconds, where most Pilates moves are repeated over and over. They are both highly effective forms of exercise and I enjoy both.”

While many of the exercises may be different, the goals of Pilates and yoga are quite similar. They both emphasize mental awareness and concentration with low-impact stretching and strengthening of muscles. Why not get the best of both worlds and incorporate both yoga and Pilates into your workout routine! – T.Y.

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