So what’s the real difference between Yoga and Pilates? And which is better for you?
A lot of people consider these two exercise styles to be similar. They both focus on working your body with minimal use of props, with an emphasis on floor work.
It’s also true that as the more recent of the two, Pilates has borrowed a number of concepts and poses from Yoga over the years, making some of the exercises you perform exactly the same in both Yoga and Pilates.
Here are the similarities and the differences:
Both Yoga and Pilates focus on you flexibility and mobility. Class are often structured to include deep stretches and new types of movement to keep your body limber. While there is certainly an expectation that a Yoga class will involve stretching, the fundamentals of Pilates also include exercises designed to promote mobility.
2. Postural Alignment
Improved posture is something that goes hand in hand with many people’s ideas of Pilates, but better posture is also a benefit of Yoga as well. In Yoga you learn what correct posture feels like and how to hold it for long periods of time in many and varied positions. Pilates focuses on strengthening the muscles required for good posture at quicker rate however, due to its greater emphasis n strength training.
The biggest difference between Yoga and Pilates is the speed. While there are many different types of Yoga and some of them rely on quick movements, the majority of them are slow paced.
“Yoga is a lot of finding a position, holding your position, and breathing into that position,” Lisa Simpkinson says. “Whereas Pilates is a dynamic stabilisation; so we will hold a stretch, but a lot of the time the movement is continuous. You have to stabilise and think about your movement as you change from one position to the next.”
Yoga is grounded in meditation that is not apparent in Pilates. It has a long history that is intertwined with spirituality in India and its practice varies across the religions Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Yoga is not just about physical exercise; it is also about mental and spiritual wellbeing. On the other hand, Pilates is not as steeped in spirituality. That’s not to say that one’s
Pilates practice cannot be spiritual as well as physical, but the reason Joseph Pilates created the exercise form was to aid in physical wellbeing first and foremost.
Lisa Simpkinson owns the Village Pilates Studios in Sydney.
By Alex Bodnaruk