Pilates or Yoga – which one would be best for my injury recovery?
As physios it is common to get asked by clients what the difference is between pilates and yoga and would either be of benefit or detrimental to their injury and rehabilitation. With the popularity of both yoga and pilates in today’s society, people often want to know what the difference is?
Yoga involves a series of poses that create a stretch for your muscles and joints, and may either be sustained stretches or more flowing in nature between poses, creating more of a dynamic stretch. This varies across different types of yoga. Most yoga classes involve stretching, some strength work and balance work, and also involve a relaxation/meditation component.
Pilates focuses more on core strengthening and can be mat or equipment based. Pilates is aimed at prevention and rehabilitation of injury with exercise focussing on strengthening muscles around the spine, pelvis and abdomen, to assist with back pain, postural pain and biomechanical injuries. There is also an element of stretching in pilates but not to the extent that there is in yoga.
Pilates and yoga both have their benefits, and are often a good adjunct to high intensity training. I feel the best advice for clients regarding choosing pilates or yoga depends on the individual assessment of their injury. It is important to identify any risks involved with either pilates or yoga, and any particular positions/movements in these activities that may aggravate the injury. Once identifying aggravating movements and positions, then working out which activity is more beneficial than the other. If I feel both pilates and yoga are beneficial, then I would recommend they try both and see which they enjoy more and feels great for their body.
When attending a private sessions or a group class in pilates or yoga you should always make sure your instructor is aware of the injury and your limitations, so they can make alternatives and modifications to the exercises to prevent injury aggravation. You should never feel more than a mild discomfort when stretching or exercising. The saying “no pain, no gain” is not applicable in this setting. If you need advice on whether pilates or yoga is better for you and your injury, In Touch Physio can help you determine the most suitable/beneficial for you based on the assessment of your injury.