By Robert Hannum
Here is a review of the differences and similarities between two of the most popular forms of exercise. Which one is better? Here's a viewpoint from one who has taught both methods for over 35 years.
Pilates and yoga are oddly similar and at the same time deeply different when it comes to breathing. Both methods emphasize breathing, but take it in a different direction.
Few in the Pilates world realize just how important breathing was to Joseph Pilates. Of all the principles of the Pilates technique, Joseph Pilates considered breathing the cardinal one according to his writings.
According to my teacher and Pilates Elder, Mary Bowen, Joseph Pilates never developed any special breathing mechanics, though "bellows breathing" was a technique developed after his death by his students. Instead Pilates created breathing patterns to accompany each exercise, natural breathing that allows full and frequent breathing while you move. The effect is exhilarating, and in fact, Pilates is known for being energizing rather than exhausting even after the most rigorous routine.
Yoga far exceeds Pilates in the development of particular breathing mechanics. The complexity and depth of the pranayama (breathing) yoga techniques include breathing through different nostrils in different patterns of inhalation, exhalation, and holding the breath, all designed to create and move energy in the body. I've explored breathing techniques in Pilates and yoga and have found both to be beneficial in their own distinct ways. Read more