In the crowded modern fitness environment, two popular trends stand out above the rest: Pilates and yoga. Every day, tens of thousands of people worldwide craving an invigorating, involving sweat session head out to a studio, gym, or their own private space to practice one of these tremendous workouts.
Those of you starting on a fitness journey may be pondering which one of these workouts is right for you. So, let's take a look at what exactly Pilates and yoga are, and explore which one would fit your specific needs
What is Pilates?
Pilates has one of the most fascinating histories of any workout routines. A German named Joseph Pilates created this fitness method. Pilates grew up as a sickly child around the turn of the 20th century and threw himself into exercise and athletics as a result. He grew into a bodybuilder, gymnast, skier, and boxer. He developed his "Pilates method" as a way to help heal injured soldiers after World War I. After immigrating to America, Pilates and his wife opened a fitness studio in New York City where they helped train dancers. The popularity of the Pilates method steadily spread and blossomed over the last few decades.
Joseph Pilates' fitness method aims to improve the body's core strength. Machine exercises focus on the core of the body (like the back muscles, abdomen, hips, and thighs) and work from that area out to improve overall fitness. The object in a Pilates class is not to bulk up the muscles, as you might see in an iron-pounding gym. Instead, a Pilates class is intended to create a lean and strong muscle tone. Pilates classes also focus heavily on correct alignment, grounding through the feet and breathing techniques, putting an emphasis on concentration and doing the workouts right.
What is Yoga?
While Pilates focuses on core strength, yoga focuses on flexibility. Unlike Pilates, yoga has been around for thousands of years. It originated in India about 3000 B.C. as a spiritual and physical practice to promote harmony between the mind and body. It spread to America in the early 20th century and surged in popularity worldwide during the 1980s.
There are some elements of yoga that resemble Pilates, like the attention on breathing concentration and the importance of core exercises. However, there are some key differences. Yoga provides a more meditative, spiritual atmosphere, meant to work on the soul along with the body. There's also a focus on the flexibility of the entire body, rather than being heavily core-specific. Additionally, there aren't any machines used in the practice. Instead, the exercises use your own body's resistance (with the occasional assistance of a block or a strap).
Finally, there are many more variations of yoga for your workout. From Bikram yoga (done in a hot room) to Yin yoga (with an emphasis on prolonged, seated postures), there are plenty of varieties for an exerciser's needs.
What is right for me? Yoga or Pilates?
Your unique needs will drive whether yoga or Pilates is right for your workout regimen. If you're concerned about improving your core strength, try out a Pilates class. If flexibility is your primary goal, then maybe yoga is the right path for you. Both will improve either area, but one practice might boost them just a little bit more. Those who are looking to de-stress and feel comfortable in a calm, spiritual environment might like yoga a little bit more. If you're a person who wants to be a bit more active and engaged in your workout, perhaps Pilates is the way to go.
Our best advice? Try them both and see what sticks with you -- or alternate sessions with each practice. You might be surprised to see how you feel!
Bringing Sensory Science into your Yoga & Pilates.
Whether it is yoga, Pilates, or any other workout that might suit your unique needs, your feet -- or your foundation -- serve a crucial role in maintaining your health and posture. Naboso Technology created the first (and only) commercially-available textured training mats that are specifically designed to activate the feet and improve balance, posture, and gait. Hello tree pose!
Developed by Dr. Emily Splichal-- a functional podiatrist and global leader in barefoot education -- Naboso's proprioceptive material stimulates the nerves in the bottom of the feet which enhances balance and posture. Think of the Naboso texture as "braille for your feet." The Naboso products simulate the same nerves that braille language does, enabling your feet to "read" the ground with every movement. This promotes stability and overall performance.
The Naboso's mats can be used for an even more invigorating yoga workout, or can help get the most out of your Pilates session.
Interested in seeing how the Naboso Mats could be used in your workout? Check out our website here.