Last week I spent five days away from sunny, cool Camarillo and headed down to sunny, HOT San Gabriel Valley. The heat and drive was well worth it. I had the opportunity to see many of my Virtual Pilates and Yoga Clients in-person and meet up with several friends.
On my drive back to Camarillo, I pondered a question I had been asked during my stay. What is better for stretching, Yoga or Pilates? Being certified in both Therapeutic Yoga and Pilates, I was more than happy to share my opinion.
Yoga for stretching:
Yoga is ideal if stretching is your main goal. There are several types of yoga and one is bound to fit your needs and personality. The following is a short list of the types of yoga I have practiced. They are all forms of hatha yoga (hatha is one of the eight limbs of yoga and means movement).
- Iyengar Yoga is focused on precision and alignment in each pose. If this sounds intimidating, know that Iyengar yoga also encourages the use of props such as blocks, straps and even chairs to help you stretch into your ideal pose. The poses are a mixture of seated, standing, and inversions.
- Yin Yoga is perfect for stretching tight, stubborn areas. In yin yoga the emphasis is holding poses for several minutes and stretching the connective tissue, or fascia, around a joint. Yin yoga can be very meditative and definitely requires patience to hold the pose for long periods of time. Poses are seated, supine (on your back), or prone (on your stomach).
- Therapeutic Yoga makes me think “ahhhhh.” I have lived many places before settling in Camarillo, and I did have seven lovely years in Santa Barbara, CA. Here is where I practiced and trained to teach Therapeutic Yoga. This type of yoga uses bolsters and blankets to support you in every pose. Poses are either supine, seated or prone and emphasize relaxing and “letting go” in the stretch.
- Hot Yoga/Power Yoga/Bikram Yoga are much more active forms of yoga. Heat builds in the body either with movement alone or with movement and the surrounding temperature. This heat aids in stretching.
Pilates for stretching:
In my experience Pilates emphasizes core strength more than stretching, though as you work with a dedicated trainer he/she can integrate stretches in your routine. The Classic Pilates Mat exercises challenge your core while also emphasizing strengthening your back, arms, inner thighs, and gluts. If you are a Pilates purist here are some Pilates exercises that emphasize stretch:
- Pelvic Curl – stretches the spine through articulation
- Saw- stretches the hamstrings, back and arms
- Hamstring Pull 1 and 2 – stretches the hamstrings
- Basic Back Extension – stretches the upper back and neck
Are you ready to have your own Pilates and Yoga Instructor right in your living room? Your Daily Practice offers in-home Pilates and Yoga Sessions in Camarillo, California.
Not local? Try a Virtual Pilates Session and enjoy the benefit of a personal Instructor in the privacy of your own home.