These two classes tend to get grouped together – and rightly so given they are so complimentary to one another. However, you are going to have a fairly different experiences in each class so with this post I shall to do my best to shed light on the two.
To kick off with I teach both and love both, I am not here to tell you that one of these is superior to the other. Nor will one answer all of your health questions unfortunately. For optimal health our bodies need a blend of exercises and if any teacher tells you otherwise, I suggest you politely turn and keep walking till you find a fitness / health professional more open minded.
Pilates is an exercise discipline which was developed to help students improve their overall physical health by focusing on their strength, flexibility and posture.
Yoga is a more creative practice used to achieve deep relaxation. Physical movement, breath work and meditation are carefully brought together to positively effect your overall well-being.
What should I expect?
Stepping into a pilates class is going to be much more exercise focused and structured than a typical yoga class, which I would say is often more creative and fluid. With yoga you will be guided to flow and move throughout the class one breath to the next, whereas in pilates you may stop, set up for your next exercise and start again. A pilates class is going to have you feeling a really precise physical response to each exercise (I like to call it the ‘pilates burn’), whilst yoga will leave you feeling more ‘uplifted and zen’ (for fear of sounding a little cuckoo I call this a ‘yoga high’).
Which should I try first?
As a newbie you should try both and I really recommend the cross over. You will see that the strength you build in pilates will enhance your yoga practice, and the mental clarity developed in yoga will provide you with so much more focus when in pilates.
The most important message of all…is to find a class, a style and a teacher that suits you.
There is so much choice out there (thanks Zoom) and at the touch of a button you can take classes with teachers from all over the world. You will resonate with certain teachers, your body will prefer certain styles and you will enjoy particular classes.
Enjoying the classes you are doing will encourage your body to produce more of the feel good hormone dopamine. This hormone is a neurotransmitter – it sends signals between your body and your brain and is therefore essential for your physical and mental well-being.
Personally, if I am looking for headspace, mental clarity and the chance to let go of stored tension it is yoga I turn to. However, on the days I need something that is going to energise me or I need to build strength and control in a particular area, then pilates it is!
If you are still left with questions about either practice then do drop me a message or an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I shall get back to you.