What Is The Difference Between Pilates And Yoga?

Pilates and Yoga are two different practices but are often coupled together. If you go to a yoga class, you might find that it incorporates elements of pilates or vice versa.

What Is The Difference Between Pilates And Yoga?

Maybe the center you’ve shown up at offers both classes.

Sometimes it can be difficult to understand the differences between them.

So let’s say you’re looking to add one of these practices to your life, but aren’t sure which one is the best.

You’ve heard a lot about both benefits, but without experience, how are you supposed to know which one is right for you?

If you’ve been wondering about this, then don’t panic! You’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we’re going to break down the similarities and differences of pilates and yoga so that you can better understand and choose which one is right for you.

We’ve also included a shot Frequently Asked Questions section to help explain any other questions you may have left over. 

What Is Yoga?

What Is The Difference Between Pilates And Yoga?

Yoga is a practice that incorporates both the mind and body.

Through aspects of breathing techniques, meditation, relaxation, and physical stances, you are taught ways of manipulating your body to achieve inner peace or (enlightenment). 

Yoga has the richest history of the two practices we’re covering in this article, with roots that go back long before we have records.

The exact origin of yoga is not known, but it is thought to have come from India and has links to early forms of Hindiusm.

But that’s not to say that you have to be spiritual or religious to enjoy the benefits. 

Yoga is most linked with Buddhism, Hinduism, and other similar religions, but in the modern age, many people use it as a way to stay fit and healthy.

At any given yoga class you can expect to be taught flexibility through a series of poses, as well as breathing techniques that allow your mind to reset and relax. 

Yoga is heavily linked to schools of philosophy that focus on the pursuit of inner peace.

This is the idea of trying to find peace within one’s own mind in order to better deal with the stresses and difficulties of real life. 

What Is Pilates?

What Is The Difference Between Pilates And Yoga?

So now we move on to pilates.

Like yoga, it is a practice that focuses on physical and mental well-being, though it doesn’t have as rich of a history as yoga, nor does it come with any of the philosophical connections. 

In short, pilates is a form of exercise that revolves around strengthening your body.

The most important thing here is core strength – which in turn becomes a strength for your whole body.

It’s similar to yoga in the way it focuses on balance, posture, and flexibility.

It’s a great way to keep fit if you don’t want any of the difficulties of intense cardiovascular or contact sport.

However, just because it’s a more conventional form of exercise compared to yoga, doesn’t mean that it’s completely devoid of mental exercise.

Because it focuses on core strength, there is usually a key emphasis on the mind-body connection and how you can use breathing techniques to achieve difficult poses. 

Pilates has a much more traceable history than yoga, with its origin coming from Germany in the early 20th century.

It was created by Joseph Pilates who was both a gymnast and carpenter in trade.

These gymnastic roots are the main reason why it has such a focus on building core strength – but it’s not as hard on your body as gymnastics might be. 

Which Is Better For You?

Trying to figure out which one of these practices is better for you will come down to what you value as a person.

Both have incredible benefits for your health and wellbeing, but they come at it from slightly different angles. 

Typically, a pilates class is going to form a more conventional western style of exercise. If you’ve ever been to an aerobics class, it will follow this kind of structure.

Pilates also has a more key focus on physical health, with some of the mental aspects being pushed to the sideline.

Yoga, on the other hand, is way more to do with learning to still your mind whilst in difficult positions.

You will still learn a lot of skills that focus on core strength and flexibility, but you will also be taught a lot about the philosophy of yoga.

Depending on the school of yoga that you attend, this can vary wildly. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, both yoga and pilates have a lot of similarities, but their main differences revolve around how much emphasis they put on the mind-body connection.

Yoga comes with a lot of additional philosophies that Pilates doesn’t have. However, both are fairly similar and the one you pick is down to your own personal likes and dislikes.

If you’re unsure of which one to try, maybe try a class in each and see which one fits you better!

We hope that this article has given you some insight into these two practices and that you’re not a lot more confident about both.

If you still have some questions, keep reading for our short Frequently Asked Questions section below. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Does Pilates Do For Your Body?

The main focus of pilates is to train your body as an interconnected web of muscles. It focuses on the lower body, core, and upper body strength.

Pilates workouts are incredible for developing your muscles, increasing overall flexibility, and helping to extend the motion of your joints. 

What Is The Best Kind Of Yoga To Start With?

There are lots of different types of yoga and it can be important to start with the one that will fit you, especially if you’re a beginner.

Typically, we would suggest Hatha Yoga as a good starting point.

Hatha yoga is a much slower pace that practices the body and mind and the balance of these two energies.

Angela Frederik
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