The studio has an interesting collection of all ages and genders, with the oldest into their 80’s. All are positive thinking individuals who come ready to learn, progress, and in many cases heal. They bring their challenges with optimism and continue to challenge my years of expertise.
This is a question many people ask and my response is: 1. What do you enjoy doing more? Try both and give both a honest effort for 4 to 6 months. Both are extremely benefical to continue doing into your senior years, so you need to enjoy whatever exercise you choose or you will not continue. I have clients who enjoy taking both Pilates and Yoga classes weekly and I encourage them to do so. 2. Know what benefits you are needing. There are some differences between Pilates, Yoga and Bikram Yoga which I will outline.
There are a number of variations in both Pilates and Yoga, especially Yoga, so try different instructors before you say no to either form.
Pilates works the whole body, with a focus on quality of movement, not quanity. Movements are not performed rapidly or repeated excessively. Strength and flexibility are practiced on all the body’s muscle groups, so a person’s physique is equally balanced and posture is correct.
Pilates focuses on core stabalization, so a person’s entire torso – front and back muscles, are strong. With simple exercises performed correctly, the low impact nature of Pilates makes it ideal for injury prevention and rehabilitation. Pilates makes a person stronger from the inside out.
Pilates exercises are flowing with an empasis on building long lean and flexible muscles. There are more toys and tools to play with in Pilates, so for gym buffs, they enjoy working out on the Reformer. Take a look at our studio page and read more about this amazing machine. Mat Pilates exercises are excellent to be done at home. Like yoga, they can be done anywhere.
Yoga is a mindful, sometimes meditative, form of exercise. It is excellent for people who need to calm their spirit and focus on uniting their mind, body and spirit as one. Poses are held and the tention in your body eases as you center your mind and condition your body.
Bikram Yoga is done in a very hot room. The majority of women I have spoken too say that exercising in a 40 degree C temperature was far too draining. If you are over 40 and approaching menopause, you need to try just one class before signing up for a term. In my opinion, the extreme heat for older women, and especially those in their 50’s and 60’s, is not ideal when exercising. Many feel faint, dizzy and drained doing these classes. Younger women often love the classes.
Both Pilates and Yoga exercises are taught, (or should be taught- depending on the teachers), coordinating all movement with breath. The healing energies of exercising with a full inhale and exhale of breath make both forms of exercise therapeutic amd energizing.
The bottom line on deciding on which exercise regimes to incorporate into your weekly routine is: 1. If it feels good – do it. 2. Keep an open mind and try different types of exercise. Your body, mind and spirit will tell what you need, just listen.
Julie Akin Instructor at Synergy Staying Fit – Surrey BC