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Benefits of Yoga and Pilates

Yoga and pilates are definitely all the rage at the moment and there are many reasons why. The benefits of both are evident and can play an important role in living a pain-free and healthy life. Today I will emphasise the benefits of yoga and pilates.

Yoga is great for back pain. Back pain is a very common ailment and can be very difficult to treat. It is important to first consult a doctor before starting any exercise regime because some back pain is so severe that doing any type of movement can aggravate the problem. But for most people the act of yoga increases back endurance and strength. Yoga positions promote flexibility through gentle stretching in a gradual safe way. Many yoga stretches are good for the nervous system and reduce numbness and pain.

The practice of yoga and pilates focuses on body alignment and awareness. The body is the most efficient and functional when the muscles of the body are strong and long. Excessive strength exercises or our habitual postures cause our muscles to become strong but tight. This causes postural problems. Yoga and pilates help to lengthen muscles to make the body more balanced.

Yoga improves circulation. The natural breathing techniques in yoga pump fresh oxygenated blood around the body to every organ, tissue, muscle and joint. This helps purify, and cleanse the parts of the body, including the skin, the largest organ in the body. Yoga helps purify the body of toxic wastes, allowing all the nutrients in, leading to healthy skin and organs. Yoga affects the mind as much as the body. It improves concentration, increases alertness, and is a form of meditation that helps to relieve stress.

Pilates is different from yoga in the sense that it is more to do with alignment, rehabilitation and function, rather than breathing and meditation. Pilates is based on the idea of developing a strong core. The muscles of the core help to stabilise the trunk and transfer movement between the upper and lower body when we move. Many people do not know how to activate and use their core, and as a result they develop weaknesses and back problems.

Pilates can help anyone from dancers to athletes to you and me. We all use our core muscles and can reap the rewards from the benefits that include shapely muscles and injury prevention. Many Hollywood celebrities and supermodels use pilates to maintain their beautiful physiques. Pilates conditions the whole body, even the ankles and feet. No muscle group is over-trained or under-trained. Many people who do conventional exercises overdo the chest and have hunched-over postures. With pilates your entire musculature is evenly balanced and conditioned, helping you enjoy daily activities and sports with greater ease and less chance of injury.

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