Yoga Vs. Pilates: Which one is right for you?

Yoga and Pilates are often thrown into the same category. True, they are similar practices, but they have some major differences that many people don’t recognise.

 

Difference 1: The origin
The practice of yoga originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. It has evolved over the centuries and cultures into many different types of yoga: Ashtanga, Kripalu, Bikram and Vineyasa, to name just a few. Pilates is a much younger practice, beginning in the mid-20th century by an athlete named Joseph Pilates. He created the exercises as a form of rehabilitation and strengthening.

Difference 2: Mind, Body and Spirit
Both yoga and Pilates bring an understanding that the mind and body are connected. However, yoga adds an additional element to the mix—the spirit. Exploring spirituality is a huge part of yoga practice, especially through meditation.

Difference 3: The Class
Many yoga classes are flexible in routine. Postures, sequences and variations can be combined into tens of thousands of routines to create a class. So it will be up to the style of yoga you practice and the teacher guiding you to decide what’s on the agenda. Pilates classes are a little more structured. Because of this, you will more likely know what to expect when you walk into the door of a Pilates class than in a yoga class.

Difference 4: The Workout
In both practices, you will gain strength and flexibility. Pilates classes offer a total body workout but focus on aligning the spine and strengthening the core. The exercises done in Pilates classes almost always involve regimented movements to gain core and spine strength. In a yoga class, you will work out every muscle in your body equally. Each posture is accompanied by a counter-posture to ensure you create balance in your body.

Difference 5: Breathing Techniques
Breathing and concentration techniques are important to both yoga and Pilates practices. However, yoga uses breath work on a very deep level. Often in yoga classes, there will be segments dedicated to breath work, called pranayama. In Pilates practices, you just inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.

 

So how do you decide which one is for you? If you are certain you want your practice to be spiritual and are looking to manage your stress, yoga may be the better option for you. If your priority is to focus on your back and core, Pilates may be a better fit.

If you don’t know where to start, try them both and you will find one that you enjoy or benefit more from.

Wellness for your children – the natural way

You don’t need to spend a ton of money and time to boost your child’s health. Instead, you can make small lifestyle choices to improve your child’s immune functioning, development and overall well-being without putting a dent in your wallet. 3 quick and easy way to do so are:


1. Catch some rays
Vitamin D is vital for your child’s healthy bone and immune system development, but many kids (and adults) border on vitamin D deficiency. Just 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight per day will give your child all the vitamin D they needs. Encourage sun exposure before 10a.m. or after 4p.m. to minimize the risk of sun damage.


2. Plant a garden
Your kids benefit in two ways when your family plants a garden: They get dirty, and they learn to love veggies. Believe it or not, children need to interact with dirt, soil and dust to build a healthy immune system for life, so it’s actually good for them to get dirty in a garden. Also, kids are more likely to enjoy fresh veggies if they’ve participated in planting and harvesting the produce.


3. Serve more fruits, vegetables and beans
Carrots, green beans, oranges, strawberries: They all contain such immunity-boosting phytonutrients as vitamin C and carotenoids. Phytonutrients may increase the body’s production of infection-fighting white blood cells and interferon, an antibody that coats cell surfaces, blocking out viruses. Studies show that a diet rich in phytonutrients can also protect against such chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease in adulthood. Try to get your child to eat five servings of fruits and veggies a day. Also consider replacing meat with beans and rice a few times a week, as the beans contain healthy protein as well as a full range of minerals that are often missing from diets.

Morning rituals to empower your day and change your life

Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about what your reality should be. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be. One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals.

 

Here are some the easiest yet life-changing rituals you can do every morning. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bedtime rituals, but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

1. Gratitude
Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

2. Write down your most important tasks 
Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life. What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. This step will also prioritise and manage your time better.

3. Hot water with lemon
Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells.

4. Rise earlier
The practical advantages of waking up early include that you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or yoga, more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carrying out the other morning rituals! It has been shown that sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus promoting more restorative sleep. Studies also show for instance that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.

5 simple ways to relieve stress

Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. In fact, 70% of adults say they feel stress or anxiety daily that can seriously impact their functionality and ability to carry out their daily tasks. Here are a few ways to relieve stress and anxiety that you can easily implement into your daily routine

  1. Exercise
    Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to beat stress. It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can help relieve mental stress, and the benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise. Try to find an activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga. Activities that use repetitive movements of large muscle groups, such as walking or jogging, can be particularly stress relieving.
  2. Reduce your caffeine intake
    Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. High doses can increase anxiety. People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate. If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back.Although many studies show that coffee can be healthy in moderation, it’s not for everyone. In general, five or fewer cups per day is considered a moderate amount.
  3. Spend time with friends and family
    Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times. Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times. One study found that for women, in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called “tend and befriend,” and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response. Furthermore, both men and women benefit from friendship. Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
  4. Learn to say no
    Not all stressors are within your control, but some are. Take control over the parts of your life that you can change and are causing you stress. One way to do this may be to say “no” more often. This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, as juggling many responsibilities can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Being selective about what you take on — and saying no to what will unnecessarily add to your load — can be a good start to controlling your stress levels.
  • Listen to soothing music
    Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body. Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as stress hormones. Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too. Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why they’re often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.

There are many things you can implement to attempt to reduce stress and anxiety if you find these few simple tips aren’t working for you, but they are a great start to put you on the right track for a less stressed mindset!