A hundred year old physical system devised by a German anatomist, or an ancient, holistic Indian discipline? We’re not talking about military strategies – we’re talking about pilates vs yoga! As two of the most low-impact workouts available, both pilates and yoga offer incredible health and fitness benefits. However, given the similarities between the two, many find themselves confused and unsure of which to try.

Let’s take a look at the differences, similarities and benefits of pilates vs yoga!

Pilates vs Yoga: Why the Confusion?

Both pilates and yoga are revered for their numerous health and fitness benefits. Each of these historical practices promote mental health, a deeper connection to the self, and allow you to develop flexibility, endurance, strength and control.

So why the confusion?

While each of these practices come from very different backgrounds, they have evolved greatly over the years and can seem very similar:

  • Both pilates and yoga can be done with very little equipment – as little as just a mat! A few additional props can be used as well, if desired, such as a block or pilates ring. 
  • Both workout types require mental focus and can help reduce stress.
  • Pilates and yoga both focus on proper breathing during exercise. They also emphasise diaphragmatic breathing, which is breathing deep into the stomach. 

It’s easy to see how these two practices might get mixed up, but each provides unique benefits that could sway you to choose one over the other.

PILATES vs YOGA

What is Pilates?

Originally intended as a practice to help rehabilitate soldiers wounded during World War I by Joseph Pilates, pilates has become a popular workout style for men and women of all ages. 

Pilates aims to help you gain flexibility and strength, develop body awareness and deal with mental stressors – without building bulk. It is considered a resistance exercise as the biggest tool during a pilates session is your own body. 

Through pilates, you can strengthen your stomach, improve your posture, strengthen your spine and develop balance and strength. There are six principles in pilates:

 

  •  Concentration
  • Control
  • Precision
  • Breathing
  • Centering and
  • Flow

PILATES vs YOGA

Benefits of Pilates

As an exercise or workout routine, pilates is a great way to improve your overall health – both mentally and physically. Other benefits of pilates include:

Improved Posture

All pilates exercises promote skeletal alignment and back muscle strength, allowing you to develop proper posture.

Muscle Strength

By combining dynamic and static strength training, pilates actually strengthens all the muscles in your body.

More Stamina

As a resistance workout, pilates constantly engages your muscles, allowing you to develop more stamina.

Improved Balance

Increasing your body’s strength and developing proper posture will lead to greater balance and coordination.

Enhanced Core Stability

The centering principle states that strength should be built from your core. Pilates builds on your core muscles.

Greater Flexibility

Pilates lengthens and stretches the muscles, increasing your range of motion and providing greater flexibility.

Mental Functioning

Engaging your body and your mind, breathing and concentration boosts your mood and reduces stress.

Greater Blood Flow

Improved posture, greater flexibility, stress reduction and breathing techniques can lead to improved blood flow.

PILATES vs YOGA

What is Yoga?

Yoga was developed over 5,000 years ago in India and took some time before becoming the popular Western health practice it is today. 

Unlike pilates, yoga can be considered quite therapeutic. This is because it has major ties to mental health and meditation. In fact, yoga’s roots trace back to shamanism, Buddhism and other Eastern religions, and is centered on: 

  • Positive thinking
  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Proper breathing
  • Diet 

Mindfulness and deep, proper breathing are essential components in yoga. It combines physical activity with mindful focus, and can be seen as a form of mind-body fitness.

PILATES vs YOGA

Benefits of Yoga

The numerous benefits of yoga have been studied extensively. Yoga offers largely the same physical and mental health benefits as pilates, but has also been shown to help with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Chronic pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Arthritis

Pilates vs Yoga: Which Should You Choose?

Pilates and yoga are both fantastic practices for men and women of almost any age. If you’re struggling to choose between the two, you should consider your health first. If you have an existing health condition, you may want to speak to an instructor to find out which might be best for you.

If you want to improve your overall physical and mental health, develop core strength, learn proper breathing techniques and improve your balance, yoga and pilates are both excellent choices. 

  • Both pilates and yoga get you moving
  • Both help you become more flexible
  • Both help improve your mental focus and health
  • Both are good exercises to do after an injury 
  • Both improve your breathing
  • Both can be done anywhere, including from the comfort of your own home! 

Ultimately, the choice between pilates vs yoga comes down to the personal physical and mental health goals you have set for yourself. Yoga provides a meditative workout that focuses on stress relief while improving your body. Pilates works from the inside out, strengthening your core, increasing your body awareness and providing a greater quality of life. 

Still struggling to make the choice between pilates vs yoga? Chat to one of our helpful instructors for more information!