B.B. asks from Rockwall, TX on October 08, 2010
I am looking into yoga, or pilates for exercise. I'm fine with my weight, but want to be more lean and toned. I have foot problems, so I can't really do cardio, or high impact exercise. Yoga and pilates appeal to me on many levels. The only thing, is I have NEVER been flexible. Not even close. Do any of you have seasoned knowledge about yoga and pilates? I don't know much about either, but I like what I've read about pilates. (I've only read about the machine kind, which sounds good to me.) Can someone who's not flexible, even hope to do yoga and pilates?
Updated: My feet are strong, I just have some problems in the arches. Most exercises, that don't involve running (pounding, or hard impact) are just fine for me. My feet ONLY hurt when I run, or do something similar. Stretching them actually feels good.
A.J. answers from Williamsport on October 08, 2010
Yoga will push you to be your most flexible-within your own bounds, and you will be lean and toned if you do it frequently with a very clean diet, but it's not particularly good for burning fat-which you say you don't need to do. In general, it's the best thing on earth for you, it helps to get a good teacher until you're practiced enough to do it on your own to DVDs etc.
I don't know what your foot issues are, but yoga does entail a lot of strength and sureness in your feet, and you need to turn them in pretty strong angles.
I personally hate pilates, but it's definitely easy on the feet! You don't need much flexibility, but it's VERY difficult and awesome.
Another good thing for major calorie burn and cardio and toning and foot problems would be swimming if you have access to a pool.
A.W. answers from Amarillo on October 09, 2010
LOVE both! I'm a group fitness instructor and I do yoga as well. A big reason I do it is to counter all the impact I put my body through. And they only way to get more flexible is to stretch! So of course you can do it if you aren't flexible yet. In fact, one of the things I love about both is that you can do either for a lifetime. I used to take pilates with an older lady, like 65. She's in her 70s now and is teaching yoga. She says she's grown an inch!
I do more of a flow type of yoga. Are you a member of a gym or do you plan to do videos? If you are wanting a yoga that will also be a good work out, I suggest you look for "flow" or "vinyasa" at a gym. Or a good dvd is Shiva Rea, Fluid Power.
Pilates is awesome, too. The Windsor Pilates dvds are great. The good thing about doing it at a gym, though, is that they will have all the accessory equipment for you, like bands, rings, and balls.
I suggest you combine the two rather than pick one over the other. Maybe yoga twice a week and pilates 2 or 3 times a week. Or there are lots of classes and dvds that are "yogalates". Good luck!
C.B. answers from Dallas on October 09, 2010
I answered this once, and then my answer didn't show up, so I'm trying again....I have taught yoga for 8 years and also teach Pilates after doing it for 20 years. First, I disagree with the answer that yoga puts too much strain on your joints. That is a very broad comment about something that is extremely anatomically complicated. Most physical therapy exercises come from yoga. If yoga puts strain or tension in a part of the body then modifications needs to be made for that person. "Flexibility" is also a broad term and can mean many things. Most people think of flexibility as whether or not they can touch their toes. But that is just one muscle group (hamstrings). Everyone is flexible in some ways in inflexible in others. Yoga works on lengthening, stretching, and opening the entire body. Also, there are many styles of yoga and not all of them will be right for you. Iyengar yoga holds poses and allows you to deepen the poses and release with the use of breath. It also uses props such as blankets, pillows, blocks, and straps to modify the poses to suit each individual's needs. Not all teachers teach a pure style, and that can be good. Many teach a blend of several styles. I would recommend a beginner class so you are not next to someone who can put their foot behind their head. But a good teacher should be able to attend to students at different levels in one class by giving several modifications or alternatives. Pilates works mostly on core strengthening which is great for moms. Start with the basic mat exercises. You need this base before moving on to the equipment or machines. Equipment requires more one-on-one instruction and is much more expensive. Unless you are doing hot yoga, which I don't recommend until you have been doing yoga for at least a year, yoga and Pilates aren't huge calorie burners, but they certainly have their own advantages to overall health and fitness. MoveStudio at Preston and Campbell offers beginner yoga and Pilates series that run for 6 weeks and only have 6-8 students in each class so the teacher can give individualized attention. That is the best type of situation for anyone who is just starting, especially if you have an injury. It is about 15 minutes from my house, and I live in east Richardson near the Garland border.
L.C. answers from Houston on October 08, 2010
I do yoga on FitTv - Namaste Yoga. I love it. My kids do it with me which is hilarious! I am not flexible either, but it gives me energy and helps my back. You only stretch as far as you can - you'll get more flexible.
M.C. answers from Dallas on October 09, 2010
Absolutely! You will be amazed at how quickly your flexibility improves with regular yoga or pilates exercise. Pilates is more targeted to toning the core, where yoga will work you all over.
Try it; you'll like it! And even if you don't so much the first few times, keep at it and you will learn to love it. Just remember, your yoga practice is yours alone. Do not compare yourself to anyone else.
J.W. answers from Dallas on October 09, 2010
Pilates does not require you to be flexible. It is great for strengthening your core and giving you good posture. Get ready to work those stomach muscles!
R.D. answers from Kansas City on October 08, 2010
I have taken one yoga class with my mom (a gym offered a free class and I wanted to try it). The instructor was very experienced and had her eyes on every person all the time. She gave an alternative or modified pose to almost all the poses, and was constantly on the watch for proper form. (Some poses were easy, even for the totally inflexible!) You can advance in Yoga as long as you want to get stronger, more balanced, breathe better, and get more toned.
I know this isn't 'seasoned knowledge,' but hopefully helpful nonetheless.
S.L. answers from Dallas on October 09, 2010
I've done pilates and I love it. It seems like a little yoga but more moving. I have never been able to get myself to go do yoga because of the non moving posing I've seen.