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  • Pilates vs. Yoga: Benefits & Differences

    October 07, 2022 3 min read

    Pilates vs. Yoga

    Yoga vs. Pilates

    Pilates and yoga have become two of the most popular forms of exercise in North America. So much so, that many studios have started offering both, at times even combining the two into a class called yogalates!

    At first glance, the two practices may appear as one and the same. While they do carry many similarities, there are several key differences.

    Keep reading to learn which movement method best suits your needs. Spoiler alert - it just might be both!

    What is the Difference Between Pilates and Yoga?

    Pilates and yoga are both low-impact forms of exercise that offer a wide range of physical benefits including increased strength and flexibility. These two schools of movement can be adapted to suit any fitness level. As your familiarity with pilates and/or yoga grows, so too do your options for more advanced postures and exercises. There is essentially no finish line - so the learning and growing can continue indefinitely.

    Origins of Yoga & Pilates

    One of the key differences between yoga and pilates is their origin stories. The roots of yoga can be traced back to Northern India’s Indus-Sarasvati civilization over 5000 years ago. The practice of yoga includes practicing the physical asanas, but also breathwork and meditation techniques designed to promote mental and physical well-being. The philosophical and spiritual aspects of yoga are designed to unite the mind, body, and spirit.

    Pilates, on the other hand, is a significantly more modern creation, starting in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates. He designed the method with the original goal of helping World War 1 veterans to rehabilitate their injuries. The primary goal of pilates is to develop muscular awareness and build strength (especially of the core) through stabilization and slow precise movements.

    Schools / Methods of Yoga & Pilates

    There are many popular forms of yoga including Ashtanga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Bikram, Yin & Restorative, whereas pilates is traditionally offered in two forms - mat pilates and reformer/apparatus pilates. Recently, a higher intensity style workout, inferno hot pilates, has gained popularity throughout North America

    Both pilates and yoga classes may be styled in a classical manner or in a more contemporary fashion that allows the teacher and practitioner to incorporate more creativity, sometimes going so far as to merge the two into one - aka yogalates.

    What are the Similarities between Yoga and Pilates?

    • Both yoga and pilates offer a wide range of physical benefits including increased flexibility, strength, stability, and balance.
    • Both yoga and pilates emphasize the importance of alignment.
    • Both forms of movement can also be used therapeutically in injury recovery and prevention.  

    What are the Benefits of Pilates vs. Yoga?

    Benefits of Pilates vs. Yoga

    Benefits of Pilates

    • Increases core strength - Pilates places a great deal of emphasis on building core strength and stability. Having a strong core has been demonstrated to help reverse and prevent back and hip pain.
    • Improves posture - By focusing on bodily awareness and alignment, pilates gradually improves posture by strengthening postural muscles that are often neglected in other forms of exercise.
    • Increases strength, flexibility, and mobility - Much like yoga, pilates incorporates smooth transitions between movements and often targets strength, mobility, and flexibility all at the same time.

    Benefits of Yoga

    • Decreases stress - With an emphasis on mindfulness and presence, the practice of yoga can serve as a powerful tool for managing stress. By linking breath and movement, yoga can help to slow down stressful thoughts and continuously bring the practitioner back to the present moment with a sense of calmness and ease.
    • Improves balance - Through practicing balancing postures, yoga can help build a better sense of balance that can be translated into day-to-day life. As we age, better balance can be extremely beneficial to prevent falls and injuries.
    • Increases strength and flexibility - Like pilates, yoga focuses on low-impact movements. Through the use of body weight and sustained isometric holds, many yoga asanas can build significant strength while creating a sense of openness in the body.

    Which is a Better Workout - Pilates or Yoga?

    Pilates or Yoga Workouts

    Which is a Better Workout - Pilates or Yoga?

    In short - both!

    Pilates and yoga each offer a unique set of benefits and can complement each other. Increasing muscular awareness and control through a pilates practice can help a yoga practitioner unlock more advanced asanas. Likewise, practicing yoga and increasing flexibility can help a pilates practitioner to go deeper into certain exercises and open up a new capacity for a wider range of movements.

    Victoria Maybee l Mukha Yoga
    By Victoria Maybee; All Rights Reserved @2022

    Victoria Maybee l Mukha YogaBy Victoria Maybee; All Rights Reserved @2022