Yoga and Pilates

Yoga and Pilates yoga exercisesPilates and yoga have become hugely popular in recent years and it seems almost impossible to go to any gym or fitness centre without being offered membership to a programme of either. Endorsed and praised by celebrities the world over, yoga and pilates have become a stalwart in fitness, health and exercise. Some of the reasons for the popularity of these forms of exercise is that they are both extremely gentle, suitable for all age groups and fitness levels and boast an array of health and bodily benefits that range from relaxation and stress reduction, to muscle toning and posture correction. Yoga and pilates have actually been around for centuries and have always been practised in Asian countries but it took celebrity fads to bring them in the mainstream western world. What are they? Both pilates and yoga basically involve a series of movements, postures and poses which are each held for a particular amount of time. The movements can range from basic breathing exercise to quite complex and diverse poses which beginners would likely find almost impossible. Most poses have a specific name which is descriptor of what the person looks like while dpoing them, such as downward-facing dog, warrior and the plank position. Breathing techniques are a huge part of each form and it is crucial to master correct breathing in order to get the most from each exercise. Typically, there are various levels of yoga and pilates ranging from beginner to very advanced. As each level is progressed to, movements and poses become more challenging and complex. Additionally, there are several variations within each such as Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga and Power Yoga. While these variations differ to an extent, they all basically involve the same thing. The Benefits pilates trainingThe advantages of regular yoga or pilates sessions are numerous and diverse. The body benefits in several ways – the movements stretch and tone the muscles; flexibility is greatly enhanced; bone density can be improved; circulation is enhanced; breathing can be optimized and posture can be corrected as many poses involve correct spine alignment and stretching. Of course, calorie burning is also a result as many poses can be quite strenuous. As well as these physical advantages, many champions of yoga and pilates state that the peace of mind that comes from the exercise is just as beneficial as anything else, if not even more so. The overall aim is to combine the mind and body in a way that reduces stress and centres the individual so that they find a state of inner peace which can be referred back to when the person desires.

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