Yoga and Pilates offer many of the same incredible health benefits. It’s no surprise increasing numbers are using these practices to reap the benefits that each of them offer. Both increase flexibility, strengthen muscles, improve posture, prevent/heal injuries, and reduce stress. From an outsider perspective, Yoga and Pilates may seem quite alike, which can create a bit of confusion. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or someone wishing to add something new to your regimen, you’ll want to evaluate which practice best suits your needs and goals. Perhaps you’ll find a mix of both that can be just the right fit for you!
What are the real differences between the two highly beneficial practices? Here’s the breakdown:
The quick history:
Yoga is a holistic and philosophical approach to fitness that also incorporates spirit into its practice. Yoga was created in India approximately 5,000 years ago. However, the practice of Yoga has just hatched into the western world over 100 years ago. Still fairly new!
Pilates was created in 1920 and used by physical therapists for patients who are recovering from injuries. This practice helps the body recover and protects it from future injuries. It’s safe to say Pilates was created more from a medical perspective.
As we mentioned, Yoga is all about balance. Which make it no surprise that core principles here cover proper exercise, breathing, meditation, relaxation, and diet. Yoga focuses on balance in ALL areas. Mind, body, and spirit.
Pilates focuses on concentration, control, centering, precision, flow, and breath. Both practices encourage better health, but Pilates has more of a narrow focus and does not include an extensive holistic approach as Yoga. CORE strength is the name of the Pilates game!
If you currently practice Yoga, you may already have a good idea on what to expect when entering a class. Yoga classes truly vary on a person-to-person basis or the individual instructor in a class setting. Teachers and individuals can be flexible with routines and customize them to their liking. Since Yoga also places emphasis on mind and spirit, meditation or chanting is often incorporated into class time.
If you’re new to Pilates, you can expect a Pilates class to be a bit more structured and straight forward than a Yoga class. These classes are also quite active and centered around using deep abs and pelvic floor for the sequences. Participants will certainly be feeling the abdominal burn after one session!
As we mentioned, Yoga is a tool to bring balance. This exercise works out all muscles equally to create balance and harmony in the body. Although stretching and relaxation are core elements of the practice, don’t mistake it for the easier of the two, Yoga can be very challenging as well!
Pilates is all about strengthening the core. A wide range of muscle groups are used naturally in the practice as a support to core movements. Those who practice Pilates can expect postures and sequences to be focused on aligning the spine and and building abdominal strength.
So what will it be?
If you’re looking to focus on spirituality, manage stress, increase flexibility, strength, cardio, and go the whole nine yards, Yoga may be the right fit for you! If flat abs, a strong back, and athletic performance are on your radar, give Pilates a go. Since Yoga and Pilates compliment each other well, try a mix of both to suit your unique needs!
Thinking on taking your Yoga or Pilates practice to the next level?
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By Sarah Blanks