Article by Jess Harley
Copyright (c) 2007 Jess Harley
Let’s face it, being a woman is stressful. Most of us have to hold down careers, raise a family, keep a clean house and have dinner on the table by 6pm. Our physical health and fitness can be greatly affected by too much stress. As women we also have to deal with hormonal changes once a month and when we are pregnant our hormones are even more out of wacked. Yoga and Pilates are two excellent forms of stress management and are also helpful in keeping our hormones and body in check. What is the difference between the two and which one is better for you?
Let’s start by talking about Pilates. Pilates was created early in the 20th century. The point of Pilates is to concentrate on the development of the core of the body or as you will hear in Pilates classes the Powerhouse. For years dancers used Pilates to obtain the lean and sculpted bodies that they needed. Benefits of Pilates included strong abs and a strong back muscles.
Now on to Yoga. Yoga has been around for centuries and has been shown to be a powerful tool to reduce stress, and lower blood pressure. Yoga poses are also designed to tone and exercise the muscles of your body which will help eliminate any excess fat. There are also breathing techniques, and meditation that is included.
Both Yoga and Pilates are what is known as ‘mind body’ programs. This means it requires its users to be mentally focused as they perform all the exercises. Both are slower than normal calisthenics and use have you use your breath with movement. The biggest difference in Yoga and Pilates is structure. Yoga can be loosely structured while Pilates has more of a stricter routine and is done in sets and reps. Each move of Pilates should be done in a very order and precise way. Technique is key with Pilates. Yoga tends to be a little more free form.
If you need order and want to follow things a specific way, then Pilates might be a better choice for you because of how displicne it has to be. Most of the time people who are considered a “Type A” personality tend to lean more toward Pilates. People who are more mellow might want to try Yoga since it is not as structure. No matter what one you choose there are some things you need to look for. First make sure there is a qualified instructor. Yoga and Pilates require their instructors to have completed in depth training to fully understand the subject and the techniques. The instructors should have a good knowledge of anatomy and human movement. There are many schools and training courses that a instructor can get their certification, some can last for a weekend while other can last month. A good instructor though will usually be certified in one of the two. In order to ensure that you find a good instructor you might want to enlist the help of either Yoga Alliance which provides you with a searchable database where you can find a qualified instructor, or you can check out the Pilates Method Alliance which provides you not only with a database of qualified instructors, it also gives you a list of questions to ask your instructor.
Regardless of what one you decide to go with, you will not be disappointed in the results that you will soon see.
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