They might initially have started as just another fitness fad, but yoga and Pilates have stuck around.
People around the world swear by both health crazes, and trainers everywhere have built an empire on yoga and Pilates instructional videos.
Yoga, by definition, is a system of exercises that focus on mental and physical strength using breath control, simple medication, and a variety of specific body postures.
Pilates is a similar yet different system of exercises that uses body conditioning to improve posture, flexibility, and core strength.
What Makes Yoga and Pilates Systems Different Than Other Health Crazes?
For starters, what truly sets them apart is that they focus not just on body conditioning, but on the mind-body connection. Yoga and Pilates are not just exercise routines; they are lifestyles.
Followers typically adopt a vision of a more peaceful lifestyle and practice breathing and meditation techniques as well as physical conditioning.
While also maintaining a reputation for being a truly hardcore and challenging workout, followers typically find the workouts to be relaxing and enjoyable.
Both Yoga, as well as Pilates, have the benefit of being total body workouts that can be done without tools or props.
Tip: Wearing pilates socks will keep your feet from slipping, absorb sweat and stop your feet from getting cold. You may find wearing footwear is a requirement of some Pilates instructors and studios for health reasons.
They mainly focus on the use of the body for its own resistance, although in some cases tools or props can be used.
Benefits of Yoga and Pilates
Practicing yoga or Pilates can greatly improve your strength. Without using free weights or lifting a barbell, you can build and maintain muscle tone.
By using a multitude of carefully practiced poses, you can learn to use your own body to build and tone muscle.
Muscles built using these practices tend to be longer, leaner muscle rather than the bulk of weightlifting.
This is possible through the practice of gradual stretching and toning of each muscle group.
Probably one of the most easily recognized benefits of Pilates, or yoga, is flexibility. Both practices focus on a variety of poses that rely on both strength and flexibility.
People who practice both yoga and Pilates are able to benefit from the gradual stretches and muscle toning that lead to greater flexibility.
Total Body Workout
Both exercises are complete body workouts. From the top of your head down to your toes even, there are specified poses and stretches to benefit all parts of your body.
In one workout, whether short or an hour and a half long, your entire body benefits from yoga and Pilates workouts.
As they both focus on your mind-body connection as well as physical conditioning, followers of yoga and Pilates often find a great amount of relaxation and stress relief from their workouts.
In each session, you are instructed to breathe deeply and focus on each task and pose.
With each breath in, you are pulling in positive and healing air; and with each breath out, expelling toxic stress and the negativity of the day.
Yoga and Pilates are long-standing health crazes for one reason: they work.