If you are trying to lose weight, stay in shape, or simply try a mindful activity to help you cope with stress, Yoga and Pilates can be great options. Both activities offer benefits for the mind and body, require minimal equipment and can be done from home. However, in spite of their similarities, Yoga and Pilates aren’t one and the same thing. This guide will help you understand the main differences between Yoga and Pilates so that you can choose the one that best matches your goals and lifestyle:
Moves and equipment
If you took two classes doing Yoga and Pilates and put them side by side, the first difference you’d notice is that each activity centres around different moves.
Although Yoga and Pilates poses have the same purpose, to tone and strengthen the muscles, the way they achieve this is different. In Yoga, you have to hold the same pose for a longer time and perfect your breathing technique while doing this. In beginner Yoga, these poses are quite simple and require no physical effort, and, as you move on to advanced Yoga types, the poses get more complex.
In Pilates, the focus doesn’t fall on patience and repetition, but on control and precision. You rarely have to repeat the same moves and you usually have to switch from one position to another very quickly. Also, Pilates moves are much more intense compared to Yoga, even in beginner sessions.
In terms of equipment, Yoga and Pilates are relatively similar, but if Yoga only requires a mat, Pilates sessions can also include equipment like the Pilates Reformer, Pilates chairs, barrels, the tower, and the cadillac.
If you’re more interested in a traditional exercise routine to tone your stomach and strengthen your core, then Pilates is perfect. However, if you want to combine physical exercise with meditation, then Yoga is a better fit. In essence, yoga is a spiritual practice that aims to unite body and spirit and help you achieve enlightenment. Breathing plays an important part here. In Pilates, the role of breathing is to help you control the pose for longer and channel energy to your muscles. In Yoga, the role of breathing is to help you achieve a deep state of relaxation. Although Pilates exercises can also help you unwind, Yoga is more effective at coping with anxiety and depression.
So, what can you expect after a few Yoga or Pilates sessions? It all comes down to the effects that these two activities have on the body and mind.
Because Pilates was designed to facilitate muscle conditioning, you will notice considerable physical improvements. With regular Pilates sessions, not only can you tone the deep muscles of the core, spine, and hips, but also lose weight around the thighs.
Yoga, on the other hand, isn’t focused so much on physical training, but on meditation and self-reflection. Although it can also help you strengthen your muscles, results appear after a long time and aren’t as dramatic as with Pilates.
If you’re not sure which activity is right for you, why not try a few sessions of both? By combining the strength-building benefits of Pilates with Yoga’s healing power, you will have a healthy mind in a healthy body!