Yoga or Pilates – Which is Right for You?

Yoga and Pilates are both popular group fitness classes that are easily found at local health clubs, fitness centers, and private studios. Deciding which one to take depends on your personal fitness goals. Many instructors teach both since they have many similarities.

Personal trainer education and training is similar for both yoga and Pilates. However, the style and flow of the classes are different. Understanding the differences between the two can help you decide which one is best to help you reach your fitness goals and piques your exercise interest.

Yoga is a low-impact exercise style that uses breathing techniques and stretching to help with meditation and focus. People will use yoga to decrease stress, improve self-awareness, and to help with focus. Concentration on breathing techniques are emphasized as a way to help relax the body and to quiet the mind. Trainers can use fitness instructor courses online to assist them with the flow of their class routines.  A good yoga instructor has an active role on the class, making sure all participants feel comfortable and to ensure they are performing the moves and exercises correctly and without strain.  With continued efforts, yoga can help increase flexibility and decrease overall stress levels by handling it in a more positive way. Many of the breathing techniques you learn in yoga can be applied and used outside of a yoga studio allowing you to destress in your car, your office, or any place you need to feel calmed and relaxed. 

Pilates on the other hand, uses a machine or can be performed on a floor with a mat. The exercises for Pilates are also low impact, but the moves are shorter and engage the core muscles at the center of each move so that your body is getting a great strengthening workout. Personal trainer certification courses use Pilates as a way to tone up the body and build a strong core that can aid in other sports and functional fitness. There is no focus on breathing or meditation during Pilates. You are challenging your body with strengthening exercises to build increase lean muscle mass.

A certified personal trainer can help you decide which one is best for you if you are still undecided. Yoga can be used as a good cross training for stretching and relaxation. Pilates can also be used as cross training for conditioning and strengthening purposes. Many of the moves can be combined for the benefits of both flexibility and toning. Contact your local health club or a studio near you to try a yoga or Pilates class to see how you can personally benefit!

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