We all know that both Pilates and Yoga have a lot of benefits to our body. Pilates is fantastic at lengthening and stretching all the major muscle groups. It improves flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness. Yoga focuses on three main elements - exercise, breathing, and meditation. These help build strength, awareness, and harmony as well. But did you know that both have a multitude of advantages for our minds as well?
You may begin your Pilates or Yoga journey because you want to improve your physical health. And there is a lot to be gained physically from either one. From improved flexibility, increased muscle strength, enhanced muscle control, improved posture and stabilisation of your spine. As well as rehabilitation of injuries, weight reduction, cardio and circulatory health and more. These exercises can be life changing for your body.
But the great thing is, they can be life changing for your mind, too! Both Yoga and Pilates use tools and techniques that benefit our minds and help with our mental health. From beginners to advanced participants, every single person can use these low impact exercises for a healthy mind as well as a healthy body. With a focus on breathing exercises, they help bring our awareness back to mindfulness.
Pilates encourages people to use a particular breathing pattern that helps improves the effectiveness of the exercise, increases the supply of oxygen to the muscles and removes waste products. Yoga uses breathing techniques to calm the mind and trigger the parasympathetic nervous system (The parasympathetic nervous system is part of our autonomic nervous system which conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract). Yoga also helps stimulate the relaxation response.
These Are The Other Mental Benefits Of Yoga & Pilates.
Stress Management and Relaxation
As mentioned above, Yoga helps reduce stress due to the effects it has on our nervous system. The breathing exercises help improve blood circulation, ease muscle tension and teaches you to use the breath to help soothe the nervous system. This results in less stress, anxiety and fatigue and an increased feeling of calm and well-being.
Pilates on the other-hand decreases stress hormones like cortisol. And, like other forms of exercise, it increases the body's endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals that give your mood a natural boost. These help you cope with stress and help you relax.
Pilates & Yoga Increase Brain Activity and Improve Your Memory
Did you know that as we age our brains decreases quite significantly in size? This actually affects a lot of things like our memory, and increases our chances of stroke or developing dementia at some stage. The best chance to prevent these are to eat a healthy diet, reduce your alcohol intake. And reduce cardiovascular risk through regular exercise. Pilates and Yoga are excellent at achieving just that.
In Pilates, both the cardio and strength elements are proven to help brain function. They strengthen the part of the brain responsible for memory, planning, and cognitive function. On the other hand, Yoga's whole purpose is to help strengthen the body’s biggest and most powerful muscle: the mind. Studies have shown that yoga helps increases gray matter, and the size of the memory centers in the brain.
Yoga and Pilates Help You Self-Care
Self-care means different things for different people. Whatever type of self-care you prefer, it's an important component in mental health. Many choose Pilates and Yoga for this purpose as both practices help you on a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. They both give tools to help balance our emotional state through breathing, meditation and other exercises.
Also, using Yoga in your self-care can help you feel more satisfied mentally, physically and spiritually. Pilates helps you to understand your physical and mental capabilities and limitations and to listen to those - the key to self-care in the first place. Performing both Pilates or Yoga on a regular basis also has a beneficial effect by creating a regular routine, which is great for mental health.
Whether you’re more of a Yogi or a Pilates master, both of these wonderful exercises can help improve your holistic health, especially when it comes to your mental balance. If you'd like further inspiration on your Pilates or Yoga journey, check out our latest accessory range that'll help you look good and feel good, and keep you motivated to continue. Find out more here!