You may ponder on what the difference between Yoga and Pilates as they seem pretty similar. Yes, they both use mats, props, and body resistance movements in their routines. Both Yoga and Pilates are low impact, great for all fitness levels, and gentle on your joints. In fact, they can reduce the risk of an injury in the first place.
In truth, there is a lot of overlap and similarities between Yoga and Pilates. Although many people consider them similar, they have important differences. Nevertheless, either one can be a positive force for your health.
In this blog post, we break down the difference between Yoga and Pilates. And what better way to understand them both than with a little history lesson on each. You will be amazed by how different these two forms of exercise are!
Difference Between Yoga and Pilates: YOGA
Yoga began as a primarily spiritual practice that evolved to include more physical poses in the 1900s. But it’s been around for at least the past 3,000 years. This holistic practice is deeply rooted in shamanism, Buddhism, and other Eastern religions. It includes posture, breathing, and meditation to promote both mental and physical well-being.
The intention of yoga is to deeply connect your mind and body by holding and advancing physical poses while focusing on breath. Although there are many different types of yoga, holding various poses and flowing through different series of movements is standard in several classes.
These five principles of Yoga by yogi Swami Sivananda, a doctor in Malaysia, include:
- Correct Breathing (Pranayama)
- Proper Exercise (Asana)
- Meditation (Dhyana)
- Relaxation (Savasana)
- Proper Diet (Saucha)
Yoga can be seen as a form of mind-body fitness. Yoga postures called asanas, are designed to tone, strengthen, increase flexibility, align the body, and promote blood flow to all the organs, and tissues, keeping your body’s systems healthy and balanced. Many schools of yoga focus on the physical aspects alone—using yoga as a form of exercise to build flexibility, strength, and balance.
Mindfulness and deep breathing are important in yoga practice. Yoga unites your body, mind and spirit through movement, breathing techniques and meditation. It is practiced by most people with goals of spiritual union and improved health. However, it can be quite challenging as every muscle gets stretched and strengthened.
Difference Between Yoga and Pilates: PILATES
Pilates is much younger than yoga. Developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s to help injured veterans during World War I, it was originally called it contrology. The goal of pilates is to develop the muscles uniformly, correct wrong postures, and create a sense of postural awareness through activation and stabilization.
Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. According to Joseph Pilates, through its practice you first acquire complete control of your body and then through repetition of exercises (in proper form) you progressively acquire the natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities.
It involves moving through slow, precise, strength exercises with breath control. There is a strong emphasis on starting each exercise with a controlled breath that initiates a contraction of the core muscles.
The Six Principles of Pilates
There are six principles of Pilates which allow you to learn to move with optimum efficiency whilst minimizing stress on the body:
- Centering: this involves strengthening the powerhouse and core muscles of the body, which include the abdominals, pelvis, buttocks and back.
- Precision: This principle employs the notion that every movement has a purpose, as a result prioritizes quality over quantity. There is emphasis on the movement to be performed well.
- Concentration: Bringing one’s full attention to the form and execution of each exercise.
- Control: Learning to engage your mind to unite with your body to use only the muscles necessary to perform a task.
- Breathing: Aim to move in conjunction with your breath. This will result in enhanced lung capacity, overall coordination and enhanced mind-body connection.
- Flow: Each movement should be performed with the grace and ease of a dancer.
Pilates focuses heavily on core strength and stability and requires stabilizing your core before going through a series of range-of-motion exercises. Most pilates studios use specially designed machines, that make use of springs, levers, and your own body weight to provide resistance. Pilates can also be done on a mat without special equipment.
Difference Between Yoga and Pilates: Which Is The Best Option for You?
So, what is the difference between Yoga and Pilates? More importantly, how do you know which is right for you based on your fitness goals? Or should you do both? When it comes to whether yoga or Pilates is better for your body, the answer is different depending on your goals and what you want from your exercise routine.
Most forms of yoga require you to have mobility and flexibility of the joints, especially the spine, hips, and wrists. However, most poses can be modified so a person with severe limitations or pain may still benefit. For lots of people, yoga is not only a workout, but a chance to de-stress and re-center.
If you’re all about improving your overall wellness, finding zen and a better mind-body connection, then yoga is likely for you.
Pilates can be a great exercise for who want to build their “corset muscles”. It’s also good for those recovering from injury or even older adults, due to its low- impact and subtle movements. There are many forms of Pilates. The main difference between them is the type of equipment used. Mat Pilates may be more challenging for those with decreased mobility or poor core strength than equipment based workouts.
If you’re looking for a low impact workout that will challenge your muscles, increase your strength and flexibility, Pilates may be the better choice.
Yoga and Pilates are both great workouts. They can complement your other routines and are way more than a plan B. If you have a health condition, do consult a professional or instructor to determine what’s best for you.