What Is the Difference Between Pilates and Yoga

specialized Pilates equipment

It is frequent question: "What is the difference between Pilates and yoga?" Both disciplines strengthen the body and increase flexibility, and both focus on the body and mind working together. However, there are several things that set yoga and Pilates apart.

Yoga and Pilates

Yoga is an ancient exercise and meditation form that originated in India, while Pilates is, comparatively, a recent phenomenon, having been developed at the beginning of the 20th century by Joseph Pilates, in Germany.

Pilates is a system of exercises that focuses firstly on the core muscles of the body (abdominals and lower back), with the idea that all strength originates in this "powerhouse" of the body. Pilates does not, however, ignore the other areas of the body; exercises target all muscle groups and are executed with precision in mind. Pilates can encourage relaxation and stress release while providing a superior, low-impact workout.

Yoga, in contrast, can be a spiritual form of exercise and meditation. The spirituality of yoga comes from uniting one's physical and mental being, and focuses on the art of acceptance of self. In terms of religion, yoga is completely non-denominational. Practicing yoga is often an extension of an entire philosophy and lifestyle.

It is because yoga can do so much for not only the body, but also for the mind, that yoga is often recommended as a therapeutic activity. Yoga can help people work through grief and trauma in addition to providing a great workout and promoting stress reduction.

What Is the Difference Between Pilates and Yoga Exercises?

Both disciplines encourage a focus on movement and breath, but the means of strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility are different.

Yoga Poses

Depending on the style, yoga poses are designed to be held for varying amounts of time. Some styles, such as Iyengar, rely on the use of yoga equipment and props to achieve proper posture form. Other styles, such as Vinyasa Flow, encourage the practitioner to move between poses in fluid motion. Breath guides the movement, usually as inhales and exhales through the nose.

Common yoga poses include:

Within the above sample list are several basic positions, as well as a few more advanced poses. Practicing yoga with a certified instructor will ensure that you get a proper introduction to yoga. When performed correctly, yoga strengthens your muscles, increases flexibility and balance, enhances self-awareness, and promotes relaxation and inner peace.

Pilates Exercises

Pilates is based more on movements of the body than on poses between movements. Pilates uses controlled, precise movements to strengthen the body's muscles, often using the body's own weight as resistance. In Pilates gyms, special machines have been designed to produce ideal results, but in Pilates classes and home DVDs, none of this equipment is required. Pilates breathing is usually a deep inhale through the nose, but a warm exhale through the mouth. Pilates is often used by ballet dancers because the exercises complement the needs and styles of classical dance. Precise movements are required, and the aim is to focus the mind in order to execute the exercise. This style of exercise may appeal to those who do not enjoy the grunting and sweating of the weight room at a local gym. When practiced correctly, Pilates produces strong, lean bodies in which the muscles are balanced across regions of the body.

Similar Yet Different

When asking the question "What is the difference between Pilates and yoga?", the answer is often that they are similar, yet different. While both forms of exercise will produce strong muscles and lean bodies, the philosophy behind each practice, and the style of exercises making up the practice, are quite distinct from one another.

What Is the Difference Between Pilates and Yoga