Yoga Vs Pilates: Which One's For You?

Francesca Rice
Francesca Rice

Let's face it, the world is divided between two exercise tribes. But which one should you be part of?



YOGA 

Louise Hutchings, Champneys' yoga professional and class director, shares her views. 

Benefits:

- Energises
- Strengthens
- Calms the nervous system
- Increases flexibility
- Increases feelings of happiness

Who should do yoga?

'There are many varieties of Hatha yoga to choose from. Some are really physical, some include more chanting, and others focus more on breathing and meditation. Before you start a yoga class, consider what you want to get out of yoga. This will depend on your physical health, fitness and even your personality. Try out different yoga styles and teachers, before committing to a regular class.

'Ashtanga yoga is perfect for those wishing to focus on strength and stamina, as well as flexibility and balance. Yin Yoga focuses on calming the body and mind, enabling the muscles to release tension. As such, it's good for beginners who want to get to know the postures slowly. Bikram yoga is the style for you if you want to detox and love sweating! It's perfect for athletic types who want to go deep into postures.' 

Who should avoid yoga?

'Anyone coming to yoga with spinal injuries, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis or any other physical challenges should avoid the more dynamic types, including Ashtanga and Vinyasa. It is very important to discuss any issues with your teacher to see if the class is right for you. If you decide to take part, never strain. If you have an injury or medical condition, try gentle yoga or therapeutic yoga, which is an excellent way to strengthen, aid flexibility, calm and energise.'

PILATES

Lynne Robinson, co-founder of Body Control Pilates, shares her views.

Benefits: 

- Improves posture
- More efficient breathing
- A long, lean silhouette and toned muscles 
- Better balance and co-ordination
- Improved joint mobility
- Improved strength and flexibility

Who should do Pilates? 

'Usually the people who are best suited to Pilates are those who are looking for structure in their workouts. Pilates is a discipline and that probably says it all. It requires some commitment and you need to do it regularly to reap the benefits.' 

Who should avoid Pilates?

'Anyone who is impatient and is looking for a quick fix will be disappointed. There are some medical conditions where Pilates may not be suitable, which is why a well-qualified teacher will always insist on getting doctor’s consent if a serious medical condition comes up during enrolment.'

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