Yoga and Pilates Differ in Intensity and Origins

March 01, 2013 (PRLEAP.COM) Lifestyle News
Yoga is a meditative exercise that can be slow and graceful or somewhat acrobatic. It exploits the natural weight and resistance of the body to exercise and burn calories. Holding arms above the head for even a few minutes can tire them out, as an example. Pilates is a fitness system developed by the German-American scientist Joseph Pilates. This system also employs the natural resistance of the body, but it tends to be more intense and methodical. A yoga session can last for much longer, depending on its purpose.

Yoga was developed in India and has been practiced in one form or another for thousands of years. It has roots in philosophy and is considered to be a religious ritual by some practitioners. The gentle movements can instill a sense of peace and grace into practitioners while at the same time giving the body a total workout through balance and highly controlled movements. Yoga was introduced into North America by Western students of Eastern philosophy.

Yoga continues to be more ritualistic than a scientific attempt at exercise, although many Western teachers have modified it with light weights and moves from other fitness routines, including Pilates. Freestyle exercise routines in the United States tend to be a hybrid of different styles and methods, although teachers often call their styles Yoga or Pilates, because of th existing popularity of these labels. Pilates was always intended to be practical, so it is more common to find traditional Yoga exercises.

Clothing for Yoga tends to be highly flexible or at least loose fitting, considering the highly flexible and sometimes acrobatic nature of Yoga. Yoga pants can be inspired by traditional Hindu clothing, but updated with modern materials and form fitting design. Yoga pants can resemble sweat pants that cut off and cling at the knees. They can also have a flared bell bottom, a nod towards the counterculture of the 1960s that originally popularized this Eastern practice. Tops for yoga can be sleeveless tank tops, although the pattern might incorporate stretching grooves for improved flexibility.

Pilates clothing is generally interchangeable with yoga clothing, and both are typically acceptable at Pilates gyms. Clothing for this environment tends to be more general and does not have to identify with a counterculture. Pilates clothing will resemble regular gym clothing, although premium models might include logos or else stretching fabric that gives easily to fast paced and highly gymnastic movements.