A common question I get asked from my chiropractic patients is if yoga or pilates is the right form of exercise for them. This is a really good question and I think that a lot of people don’t understand the differences between them. In general most people can benefit from both yoga and pilates but if you are wanting to focus on one over the other it is best to know which would be better for your body.
I recommend yoga for my patients who are very tight, do a lot of weight training and generally struggle with range of motion. Yoga focuses on stretching and lengthening the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. So most people these days can benefit from a bit of yoga as our modern lifestyles tend to leave us pretty tight and restricted. However yoga is most definitely the wrong choice for people who are hypermobile and have a tendency towards instability in their joints. Some pregnant mums with unstable lower backs or super flexible females should avoid yoga as it will only make their joints more unstable and painful.
Pilates has a different focus and is directed at developing deep core strength. Again our modern lifestyles of excessive sitting can cause weakness in the deep core stabilisers. This is also really beneficial for gym goers as a lot of people tend to only focus on training the superficial layer of the core and wonder why they end up with lower back pain and injury from lifting! I generally recommend pilates to my patients who are just getting into gym training and need to improve their core activation. I also recommend pilates to post C section Mums as it is so important for them to regain control of their core once they have healed from surgery and anyone who is experiencing low back pain or injury due to poor core activation.
Both yoga and pilates are great additions to your training. If you are pretty fit and healthy it is a good idea to try both of them and see which one you prefer. If you have some specific complaints then you would be best to focus on either pilates or yoga depending on what is going on for your body. If you need any specific advice about injuries or how to train feel free to contact me for more information.