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Do You Know The Differences Between Yoga And Pilates ?

Dec 29, 2007
Aside from being celebrities, what do Jennifer Aniston, Cindy Crawford, Hugh Grant, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman, Rod Stewart and Kristi Yamaguchi have in common? They've all hopped on the yoga and pilates trend for physical toning and spiritual relaxation!

There are some similarities between yoga and pilates, notably that they both work towards sculpting the body and increasing flexibility. Neither exercise will work the heart or lungs like a cardiovascular workout will, but they both add to an overall state of mental and physical wellbeing.

Yoga and pilates are so similar that they're often fused together in workout videos and yoga pilates classes across America, although it's sort of a Western fusion. In India, it is something entirely different than the German-created pilates.

Clear differences between yoga and pilates include some of the following: First, it is an ancient Indian practice that dates back approximately 5,000 years, whereas pilates is an adaptation of it dating back eighty years to a German athlete, Joseph Pilate.

Secondly, in addition to physical activity, it is an entire holistic program that encompasses diet, meditation, breathing techniques, religious edict and a moral code; Pilates is simply a form of exercise and body sculpting technique.

Thirdly, it aims to unite mind and body, as well as cleanse the body of toxins, while pilates is fashioned to strengthen, define and improve posture. Additionally, in it, you are taught to inhale and exhale through the nose, whereas pilates employs the traditional athletic mode of breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth while performing an action.

Lastly, it can generally be done with just a mat (although sometimes props are used), while instructors ensure everyone's in proper form; pilates, on the other hand, has specific machinery designed to assist practitioners.

Athletes and dancers often engage in "pilates for sports" classes, either in large groups or one-on-one with an instructor. However, one needn't attend a class to get started with pilates -- in fact, there are many videos (Eleonora Goya, Dian Ramirez, Leslie Sansone, Kathy Smith, Denise Austin, Karen Voight, The Method yoga, MTV, Prevention, etc). Of course, you won't get quite the same workout without the elaborate weight systems, but it could be a good launching point for people who are curious but not quite ready to commit to a gym or studio.

Some of the most popular videos include:
- "Yoga Zone";
- "Living Yoga - AM/PM";
- "Basic Yoga Workout For Dummies";
- "Total Yoga: The Flow Series";
- "Yoga: Mind & Body with Ali Macgraw";
- "Crunch Yoga Mama: Prenatal Yoga";
- "Yoga Practice For Strength";
- "Ashtanga Yoga with Richard Freeman";
- "The Power of Hatha Yoga" and;
- "Kundalini Yoga: With Grace and Strength."

For the practitioners seeking spiritual teaching as well, classes and center training are best. Choosing between either classes or videos is all just a matter of preference.
About the Author
Mike Selvon's yoga portal has some more useful information on yoga and pilates. Visit his web site and leave a comment at his yoga therapy blog.
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