Best Stress Relief Activities
For me, yoga vs pilates is a lot like comparing apples and oranges. I love them both, and am a teacher of both, but I don’t expect the same things from them!
On the surface, the two can look very similar. Pilates draws on some classic yoga moves, as many fitness programs do, but they do vary quite a bit. Let’s look at what they do and don’t have in common, so you can decide for yourself which of them is the best stress relief activities for you.
Both yoga and pilates use the mind/body connection, which makes them among the best stress relief activities. Both use the breath to keep your mind engaged in what your body is doing, rather than mindlessly performing repetitions of exercises.
With pilates, you concentrate on keeping your core (abdominal) muscles working throughout the exercises. This connection allows you to accomplish much more with just a few reps of exercises that target the abs, rather than, 50 traditional sit-ups.
In pilates your movements are tied to your breath, which helps achieve proper timing of the exercises. You breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth to activate abdominal muscles.
With yoga, you breathe in and out through your nose. Different breathing techniques are used depending on the desired results; some help distract you from the discomfort of a challenging asana, others are designed to help you quiet your mind and your body.
A Fitness Perspective
From a fitness perspective, both yoga and pilates improve your balance, which becomes increasingly important as you age. Both increase your muscle tone and flexibility. Both encourage you to go at your own pace.
When I’m looking for a physical workout that gives quick results, I feel pilates gives the biggest bang for the buck. So in this area of yoga vs pilates, pilates is the winner for me. You’ll benefit from the mind/body connection, and will likely feel more relaxed when you’re finished.
Yoga can also be a great workout. Some forms can be very physically challenging, such as Power Yoga. However, I’ve found that the majority of my clients come to yoga for the mental/emotional/spiritual benefits and are more concerned with the good it’s doing for their body internally.For them, there’s no doubt doing yoga is the best stress relief activities.
My Personal Favorite, Fruit Salad!
My favorite? Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be without either. Most days I do both, along with an aerobic activity (usually walking, swimming or belly dancing).
Fat-burning power-walking keeps my heart and lungs happy, and gives me energy to keep up with my 5 grand-children. Pilates keeps my core strong, and I love what it does for my waist and my belly. Yoga brings me peace of mind, making it the best stress relief activities for me. It also keeps my internal organs doing what they should.
I came to yoga as a die-hard aerobics instructor who loved kick-boxing, thinking I’d save yoga for my old age when I couldn’t do anything else. My first class showed me how wrong that was! Now I wish I started at 20, but the beauty of yoga is you can begin at any age and reap real rewards.
So in the end, I’d have to say try both and see how you feel, but by all means, don’t limit yourself. There’s a lot to be said for variety in your fitness. Choice is good!
Yoga vs Pilates — which is your favorite of these best stress relief activities? Let me know! For the ultimate in stress relief, check out my book and video package Relief Beyond Belief
In Light, Alexandria