Hi can anyone tell me what will be better for my posture and back pain, yoga or pilates. I am tall and my posture is getting worse along with pain and I have been told to take up either of these.
Pilates with a certified intructor is better, in my experience. Pilates studios in BA are among the cheapest and most accessible in the world, so this is a great place to try it. If you want references to a couple of studios PM me.
I've been working on back issues for about 15 years now with yoga, pilates, feldenkreis, gyrotonics and so on. Here's my perspective.
Aside from trauma, back pain is mainly caused by muscles, fascia and ligaments becoming too short, too tight and too weak through inactivity, so they pull a joint into misalignment and close the joint spaces. Any joint issues in feet, knees, hips and pelvis also wind up being compensated for by the lumbar spine which fatigues the back muscles. Chronically fatigued muscles get tight, then inflamed, then scarred.
We want exercise to roll back all these specific changes that cause pain. Exercises need to release muscles that are locked too tight or in spasm, relax muscles that are too tense, lengthen muscles that are too short, and strengthen muscles that are too weak. It's best to do exercises, while having the joints in correct alignment, so that the joints learn how to be well aligned, helping us get to better posture.
Basic Pilates focusses on the muscles in the core, which happen to be the large muscles that stabilise the lumbar spine. Pilates tries to create balanced joint stabilization by strengthening muscles while lengthening them, and has more leg presses and footwork than yoga. Spine issues that are related to assymetries of left vs right that appear as we age tend to become clearer with Pilates. Basic yoga has more inversions, shoulder and standing balance work.
Certified Pilates instructors come with roughly 3 levels of training and experience: basic - ok for healthy people looking to get in shape, expert - good for advanced students and athletes, and rehab - good for people with injury or post-surgery conditions. An ideal Pilates instructor is one who has had the same injury issues as their clients.
Finding a rehab instructor is not easy. There are other useful exercise practices for back and posture issues: Feldenkreis, Alexander, Gyrotonics, swimming, and walking, come to mind. All these are complementary to some extent. If you find advanced Feldenkreis here, let me know. I can give basic instruction in Feldenkreis if there is a need and a few people want to get together for a couple of sessions.
Stress contributes a lot to low back, shoulder and neck pain by keeping back muscles tight, so any kind of relaxation technique to lower stress will help break the back pain cycle. Muscles that are getting into actual spasm need intervention (ice, massage, accupuncture, etc) to get them to start to release.