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Yoga vs Pilates. What exercise to start during lockdown

10 Apr 2020
Ewan Anderson

How am I expected to stay physically healthy if I can't get to the gym and can't work out in the park because the rest of the city has descended on it? 

We know. If you are a gym bunny, you will no doubt have had the email from your gym with a link to a YouTube channel run by your instructor who will make sure your heart rate gets into the training zone, and you get your daily fix. 

However, if like many, you are not sure what will actually constitute the right level of exercise and are equally unsure where to start we have taken a look around, and Yoga or Pilates seemed to be popular.  

You might as well, it's not like anyone is watching you in your front room!

Yoga vs Pilates 

If like me, you've never quite grasped the difference between what seems to be two somewhat similar disciplines, then you are not alone.

One is a holistic discipline originating in ancient India, and the other is a physical training system, created by the 20th-century German anatomist, Joseph Pilates. 

Both focus on controlled physical activity to build strength, endurance and flexibility and despite the numerous versions of both disciplines there is plenty of crossover in terms of the exercises but what links them both is the control of breath.

There is also plenty of research that outlines the mental benefits of taking part in either pursuit. Insight from MINDBODY online showed that 70% of those who did either Yoga or Pilates felt that it relieved their stress. 

As a holistic system, Yoga is primarily concerned with your mental and physical well-being. Yoga includes an element of meditation, taking the time to slow down and connect your mind with your body, an inward focus. 

While Pilates absolutely supports mental well-being, it is centred around using your focus to maximise the physical activity. Clearing your mind while using breathing to channel your attention on achieving the optimum physical activity. 

What do I need to get started at home? 

Fortunately, both Yoga and Pilates are not heavy on the equipment. Although, once we emerge from lockdown, if you wanted to take your Pilates to the next level, you will find there is a range of apparatus that will help you with Classic Pilates, as it's known.

For Yoga, you will need a mat, a strap, blocks and a blanket. You don't need a lot of space, and there are some suggestions that you should start with around 10-15 minutes a day. The aim is to make it a daily routine. 

If you can find time for yourself in the morning, before the kids get up, it will be the perfect start to the day. It will help you start the day without the need for that first coffee. Your muscles rest as you sleep and need the controlled exercise to get rid of the 'Fuzz' that builds up during the night. 

It gets the white blood cells going, and improves your blood flow around your body. Regular Yoga also gets your digestion system going, enhancing its efficiency and increasing the benefit the body gets from your food. 

Here is an excellent option to get you started with Yoga.

For Pilates, you basically need a mat and a space to get started. As I mentioned, there is a whole host of other bits of equipment that link to Classic Pilates, but you will be able to get that at the studio when lockdown ends. 

You can, of course, choose to do your exercise whenever you want but like Yoga, a Pilates session at the start of the day sets you up in the right frame of mind. 

It exercises the muscles and stretches the joints that have been resting all night. Generally, the classes you will find online will be between 45mins and an hour, so it is up to you when you can find the time in the day.

While Pilates doesn't have the meditation element to calm your mind, the focus on breathing will really help clear your head and so might fit in well after another crazy day in lockdown. 

Here are is an excellent option to get you started with online Pilates.    

Why not give it a shot?

Why not use this time, whether you are in furlough or not to change your habits and introduce something new into your life. 


Ewan Anderson
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