Yoga and Pilates are popular forms of exercise especially for women. These two exercises can help you achieve a leaner and fitter body and are available as classes in most gyms or through online videos and DVD’s. If you are one of the many people trying to choose which one suits you better, here are the key differences between yoga and Pilates to help you decide.
Difference in Purpose and Focus
The focus of yoga is not only on the body but also on the mind and spirit. Its purpose is to increase a person’s flexibility, reduce stress, and bring relaxation. Many practitioners find yoga to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually therapeutic
On the other hand, Pilates focuses more on giving a person a leaner and stronger abdominal core and body without bulking. It also helps in achieving some flexibility, balance, and better posture.
Difference in Breathing Techniques
In yoga, the emphasis of breathing is for relaxation, meditation, and stress reduction. It is often called “belly breathing”, focusing on the expansion of the abdomen.
In Pilates, the primary goal of its breathing techniques is to send sufficient amount of oxygen to the muscles for an effective and efficient exercise. This emphasis requires concentrated breathing in the diaphragm and rib cage.
Difference in Poses and Movements
Although the poses and movements in both yoga and Pilates help tone muscles, the higher intensity of the Pilates exercises makes it a much efficient system for achieving a toned and leaner body. In Pilates, there are more lying, sitting, and kneeling exercises and more concentration on abdominal strengthening.
On the other hand, the yoga poses and movements are more effective in achieving muscle and joint flexibility. In yoga, there are more standing exercises and more concentration on the strengthening and flexibility of the spine and limbs.
Difference in Equipments
Both yoga and Pilates require the use of mats but some Pilates exercises may also require the use of other equipments such as the Pilates machine, chairs, tables, bolsters, and exercise balls. Foam blocks may also be used by beginners in yoga to extend their reach while doing some of the poses.
Deciding Which One is for You
You do not necessarily need to choose one over the other. Many fitness experts suggest the combination of yoga and Pilates for better results. You must also take into consideration your fitness priorities and your level of enjoyment in doing the exercises. Both exercises are beneficial and will help you achieve a healthier and a more relaxed state of body and mind.