By Sabine Fischer

You’ve probably heard countless times how exercise is “good for you”. Due to the way our society is now made up, we are less active than at any other moment in history. Exercise is not only good for you, but it also helps you feel great.

Over the past few years, more and more people have discovered the benefits of workouts that stimulate the mind as well as the body.

There are two types of exercise techniques that naturally have mind & body awareness embedded into their practices: Pilates and yoga. They have many physical similarities, but their philosophies are different, with yoga tending to take a more spiritual or universal approach.

Yoga is a physical fitness regime originated in Northern part of India, in ancient period. The history of yoga dates back to almost five thousand years ago and takes an approach of using the mind, body and spirit. Yoga is explained as a lifestyle, instead of just an exercise. It works towards offering a path to physical and mental well-being. It also includes all the exercise routines in conjunction with a healthy diet, relaxation, meditation, and breathing skills.

Pilates is not an ancient practice as yoga. It is just eighty years old and invented by a German athlete, Joseph Pilates. The Pilates method, inspired by certain yoga poses, works towards conditioning the entire body.

Pilates exercises are very much directed toward developing core strength and efficient movement habits that translate into daily life.

Yoga poses also develop core strength. But yoga is more stretch and flexibility oriented, and perhaps, less interested in daily movement mechanics than in expanding consciousness through movement.

Yoga works more on the internal body, the controlling of the spiritual nature allowing for the movement, whereas Pilates focuses more on concentration to allow for a strengthening of the muscles. The mere concentration from both, create a feeling of well-being.

Pilates and yoga both focus on the breath and movement working together. Pilates includes inhaling via nose and exhaling through the mouth and yoga concentrates on utilizing the nose for both inhaling and exhaling.

Both Pilates and yoga give great attention to concentration, balance and the controlled movements of the muscles. With either exercise you will never see an individual that is performing vigorous or jerky type movements.

The goal of both of the exercises is definitely the same, relieve stress and provide the person with peacefulness while strengthening the muscles.

If a person is specifically looking for training to tone and build abdominal muscles, then Pilates usually is a good choice.

If a person is searching for quiet time, stress relief and improved flexibility, then yoga typically is a good choice.

Pilates and yoga can be effective in achieving most physical fitness goals. None of the two physical fitness systems has negative or side effects on the body, if performed correctly.

There are many similarities and differences between Pilates and yoga. The decision as to which exercise is best for you depends entirely on your personal preference.

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