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The Art of Flexibility and Strength

Calm like Buddha, who as the son of a prince wanted to feel true life. Or rather controlled, focussed and powerful like Joseph Hubert Pilates, who helped the war wounded in captivity to regain their strength. What is the difference between Yoga and Pilates? Which training method suits me best? In this article, I will introduce you to the different aspects of both practices and work with you to find out which fits you better.

Yoga vs. Pilates

The two practices are often associated with each other and in fact they have a few things in common:

  • concentration on the body

  • harmonise breathing and movement

  • Strengthen the connection between body and mind

  • Getting into a fluid and harmonious sequence of movements (flow)

  • Improving flexibility through targeted poses that are sometimes just labelled under a different name (what the reverse V is in Pilates is the downward-facing dog in Yoga)

However, the main focus differs between the two practices. Pilates, for example, is mainly about strengthening core strength and improving posture through controlled and focussed movements.

Yoga is also about focussing on the body and breathing, but with the aim of freeing the mind from worries, fears and blockages through movement.

Yoga - path to enlightenment

Not all Yoga is the same. Here too, many roads lead to Rome. Even though it's not about getting to the Italian capital, there are various paths to enlightenment. Hatha Yoga, for example, is very popular in the West. You may have heard of the cobra or even practised it yourself. In a hatha session, postures such as these, breathing exercises and forms of meditation are used to harmonise the activating and calming energies. The "Ha" stands for the power of the sun and the "Tha" for the power of the moon.

Bhakti Yoga, in which mantras are chanted, is probably not everyone's cup of tea. A mantra can be understood as a magical formula to generate various powers such as consolation, inspiration or endurance.

Of course, there are many other Yoga paths, such as Raja, Karma and Vinyasa Yoga. All with the aim of harmonising with oneself, focusing the mind and possibly mastering the overstimulation of our modern times.

Pilates – das Powerhouse als funktionelles Körperzentrum

A well-known term from Pilates is the so-called powerhouse. This ensures a stable core during Pilates exercises. The core is the part of the body to which your arms and legs are attached. You can imagine the powerhouse as a kind of picture frame in which the diaphragm, abdominal, back and pelvic floor muscles each represent one side of the frame.

The aim of the various Pilates exercises is to avoid this picture frame breaking apart and to stabilise the centre of the body. The Pilates exercise "Hundreds", for example, involves stabilising the torso in a supine position with the upper body rolled up, while the arms are rocked up and down 100 times.

In addition to stabilisation, the Pilates session also focuses on the neutral alignment of the spine. The spine is not a straight bar in your back, but has a natural swing. These oscillations serve to buffer movements and impacts. In Pilates practice, this natural alignment is developed and improved, which can contribute to a healthy back.

Summary: Which practice suits you?

In this comparison between Yoga and Pilates, we have seen that both practices aim to connect body and mind, but have different focuses. Yoga emphasises the holistic development of mind and body through movement, breath and meditation. Pilates focuses mainly on strengthening the powerhouse and controlling movements to improve posture and core strength.

If you are looking for a deeper spiritual journey and want to reduce stress, Yoga might be the right choice for you. If you are more focused on improving your posture, core strength and core stabilisation, Pilates may be more suited to your needs.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating

At the end of the day, the best practice is the one you feel most comfortable with. Both practices offer numerous benefits and it can also be rewarding to incorporate elements of both into your fitness routine.

If you're still not quite sure what suits you, why not try our Yoga "Flow and Tone", a combination of Yoga and Pilates, here's the Link.

Do you have any questions about our course programme or would you like to register?

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Have fun becoming more flexible and powerful,

Your Svenja

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