If you are new to fitness, it can seem overwhelming. Is it better to use Yoga for stretching, or Pilates? What is the difference?
Yoga is more than just stretching, it’s a way to relax your body.
The practice of Yoga has been used for centuries for building strength and stretching out muscles. The philosophy behind Yoga is more spiritually based, and people that practice Yoga take it very seriously. They often refer to breathing during Yoga as “food”. Yoga has poses that are supposed to be done in a specific sequence, such as in Sun Salutation. In Yoga, people are calm and quiet. They tend to hold the poses longer, and they don’t move much during the poses.
Some great poses for stretching include:
Downward Facing Dog. This is a pose where you bend at your waist, and try to push your hands flat on the floor. So you don’t have to bend too close together, it can be folded but open more. This is named after the stretch that you often see used by dogs.
Childs Pose. This is a great stretch for your upper back. You sit on your calves and bend over and hold the back of your feet. It’s very simple and relaxing.
Extended Triangle. This is a simple pose that is actually Yoga based, but is often performed as stretch when you are completed with a cardio workout. Basically you widen your stance, and bend to the side.
There are many more Yoga poses that can be found on many blogs and websites.
A great starting point is to check out TeachStreet’s index of yoga articles and check out the Yoga articles from their Featured Blogger Program.
Pilates is relatively new.
It is more structured and has taken parts of Yoga but has added more movement to them. Pilates is more strength based. It has a wide variety of poses, but these poses tend to strengthen the muscle, rather than stretch it.
One of the poses in Pilates that is similar to Yoga style is Cat Pose. It’s basically stretching your back by arching it like a cat does.
Most of the Pilates poses are meant to strengthen the body, so they actually make you more tense when you do it. These include Plank, Hundred, and most of the Pilates poses. They increase your heart rate. The difference is that stretching poses you can do them for several minutes and you don’t get tired from them.
Make sure no matter what type of exercise you do, you want to have a warmed up body before you do static stretches. Make sure you have an active warm up first, so you don’t pull any muscles when you go into static stretches. Always follow the advice of fitness trainers and instructors. They will show you the proper way to warm up, strength train, cardio and stretch.
This is an article written by Taraneh Guidry, a writer for TeachStreet. TeachStreet is a website dedicated to providing local and online classes, including local Pilates classes.
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