Yoga Vs Pilates: What's The Difference?
Yoga and Pilates are both very popular exercise choices in today’s world. With more and more studios and gyms offering classes, it has become much easier to reap the rewards of these practices. However, there often tends to be confusion surrounding the difference between yoga and Pilates.
While they are similar practices in many ways, there are also some key differences between the two. This does not mean that one is more beneficial than the other – both are great forms of exercise! However, some people may find that they prefer the approach of one over the other.
How is Pilates different to yoga?
Read on for our quick guide on the differences between these two practices.
Yoga is much older
Yoga is a very traditional practice, deeply rooted in ancient tradition. No one can be absolutely sure of the “age” of yoga, but many consider it to be over 5,000 years old, stemming from Northern India. Pilates, on the other hand, is a much newer form of exercise, coming to prominence within the past 100 years.
Yoga also combines a spiritual element with a physical form of movement; for many, the newer concept of Pilates does not have the same historical and cultural relevance. Although there are of course many forms of yoga (and Pilates) that are modern creations, yoga is undoubtedly a more ancient practice.
Yoga is a much more spiritual practice
In line with its ancient roots, yoga is not simply a form of exercise – it contains many more meditative aspects than Pilates and, for many, is an incredibly spiritual practice. Some forms of yoga do not even involve exercise, but are practices rooted in stillness and the awareness of breath and body combined. While breath is used within Pilates, of course, it is often seen more as way to provide the muscles with the energy necessary for a workout. In this way, the two practices differ; yoga places much more importance on spiritual and meditative elements.
Pilates involves faster movements
Is Pilates just fast yoga? Well, not exactly! Poses are typically held for a shorter time in Pilates, with movements being faster overall, while yoga places greater emphasis on holding poses for longer as a means of becoming stronger. For many, Pilates contains a cardio element, and may certainly be a faster and more energy-demanding workout. However, this is not always the case, and speed is not the only difference between the two practices.
Yoga is a tool for greater flexibility
For many, one of the main benefits of yoga is the fact that it works really well as a tool for gaining flexibility. This is especially common for those practicing yoga in hot environments. Yoga involves a lot of stretching, which can help to loosen up the body and improve flexibility. Pilates, on the other hand, generally places more importance on strengthening muscles.
Yoga for injury prevention, Pilates for recovery
Many people consider yoga useful in preventing injury through stretching the body and building core strength. Pilates has long been used as an important step in recovery from injury, helping the body to recuperate its original strength. While there is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to this, Pilates is typically the more popular choice for healing injuries.
Should I do yoga or Pilates first?
If you’re considering trying either yoga or Pilates for the first time, you are in for a treat! They are popular exercise choices for a reason, and both are suitable for beginners. There are more and more variations of both exercises available – from hot yoga, to laughter yoga, to reformer Pilates… The possibilities are constantly growing! However, as discussed above, make sure to take into account any physical limitations you have or injuries you’re recovering from, as this may help you to choose the best practice for you.
Yoga vs Pilates: which one is for me?
We’ve already seen that both practices have their own benefits, and while they’re different from one another, they also have a lot in common. Are you looking for a more spiritual or meditative practice? Then yoga may be for you. Do you have an injury that you think Pilates would help you recover from? Check out some Pilates classes at your local gym or studio. Remember that it’s also possible to practice both – the sky’s the limit!
Both yoga and Pilates are extremely beneficial
It is impossible to say that either yoga or Pilates is “better”. A choice between the two depends entirely on an individual’s preferences, as well as the type or style of practice. Although each practice has its own benefits, that doesn’t mean you have to choose one or the other. Those undergoing injury recovery may also find the spiritual element of yoga incredibly appealing, for example. The benefits of both practices can be long-lasting, too – check out this blog on the long-term positive effects of a regular yoga practice.
We hope that this post has inspired you to find the right yoga or Pilates practice for you. Luckily, yoga and Pilates are becoming more accessible to all, so it’s easier than ever to get started. Happy practicing!