Should You Do Pilates Or Yoga?
A common question I get asked by patients at my chiropractic clinic is if pilates or yoga is the right form of exercise for them. It’s a great question and I think there are many people who don’t understand the differences between them.
In general, most people can benefit from both pilates and yoga but if you are wanting to focus on one over the other or only have limited time, it is probably best to know which would be better for your body.
Today we’ll talk about the origin of each and whether pilates or yoga may suit you. Let’s get into it!
What Is Pilates?
While pilates has become extremely popular in recent years, it was actually developed in the 1920’s as a way to rehabilitate injured ballet dancers. The system is so comprehensive and successful that it continues to be used today in both gym and clinical settings, with many physios training in pilates and using it to rehab their clients.
Pilates is a form of low-impact exercise that focuses on strengthening the deep core / abdominal muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility. In particular, it activates two muscles – the transversus abdominis and the pelvic floor – known as the T Zone. These muscles have a tendency to become weak for many of us these days due to our inactive lifestyle and time spent sitting, which can lead to a range of aches and injuries.
Who Is Pilates Good For?
Pilates is great for anyone who struggles with core weakness (hint: most people). 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 Sections mums as it’s so important for them to regain control of their core once they have healed from surgery. It can also help anyone who is experiencing lower back pain during exercise or injury due to poor core activation.
What Is Yoga?
While pilates has been around for the past century, yoga has been traced back to Northern India over 3000 years ago. There are many different forms of yoga which each have different benefits but most modern exercise forms use techniques that focus on stretching and lengthening the muscles, tendowns, ligaments and fascia. Yoga also has the added benefit of meditation and relaxation techniques, which are proven to reduce stress and enhance overall wellbeing.
Who Is Yoga Good For?
I generally recommend yoga for people who have very limited range of motion and constantly feel ‘tight’ in their muscles and joints. Yoga can also be great for people who train at the gym regularly, because it counteracts the development of muscle shortness and imbalance.
In the same way most people improve their core strength from pilates, those who practice yoga can benefit from more flexibility and mobility.
However, yoga is definitely the wrong choice for people who have hypermobile joints or a tendency towards instability in their joints. This is particularly true for some pregnant and postpartum mums with unstable backs or super flexible females, who should avoid yoga as it will only make their joints more unstable and painful. Alternatively, those with hypermobility should do gentle exercises to strengthen the muscles around their joints.
The Final Verdict: Pilates Or Yoga?
Ultimately, both pilates and yoga are great additions to most people’s training. If you are unsure whether pilates or yoda is right for you, because you struggle with core strength or have flexibility issues, feel free to get in touch.
Dr Miki Humphrey works at her Brisbane CBD Chiropractic Clinic, treating patients with a diverse range of injuries. She holds a Bachelor of Chiropractic and is trained in a range of chiropractic and soft tissue techniques such as dry needling. Chiropractic therapy can be used to decrease musculoskeletal pain, improve posture, improve flexibility, as well as prevent, treat and manage a range of injuries.