Pilates Or Yoga: Which Practice Is For You?

Are you trying to decide between taking a Pilates or Yoga class? Are you confused about the differences between the two? Pilates and Yoga are similar practices in that they both work strength and flexibility, but their differences are also numerous.

September 24, 2015
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Are you trying to decide between taking a Pilates or Yoga class? Are you confused about the differences between the two? Pilates and Yoga are similar practices in that they both work strength and flexibility, but their differences are also numerous.

Let’s start at the beginning, The Pilates Method began as a form of rehabilitation, increasing muscles strength and flexibility in the body.  Pilates originated in Germany in the mid-20th century.  Yoga originated in India and is more than 5,000 years old.

Yoga classes tend to vary based on the style of the practice being taught.  Classes are created through a combination of postures, sequences, and variations.  And of course, there is part of Yoga class that everyone loves, Shavasana. That moment where it is you, your mat and your breathe, the end, you know you have made it through class!

Pilates classes are often considered more structured with a typical class repertoire.  The Classical Pilates Method has five levels of exercises from beginner through to advanced levels work.  The repertoire will vary depending on if you are taking a Pilates Mat or equipment class.

If you are looking for a grounded, meditative workout you may lean more towards a Yoga class that comprises static stretching-holding postures for a length of time to stretch muscle groups.  With The Pilates Method you will experience dynamic stretching, slow and controlled movements that stretch and strengthen muscles simultaneously.

Both practices incorporate the importance of breathe work.  The Pilates Method teaches natural breathing patterns coordinated with each movement and exercise.  Inhaling through the nose, exhaling through the mouth. While Yoga breath work is taught as a technique to create and move energy through the body.  The breath is inhaling and exhaling through the nose to build energy and warmth in the body.

For me, the main difference between taking a Pilates or Yoga class is that with The Pilates Method, the emphasis is on using the deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor while the body is in motion.  While Yoga focuses more on anatomical alignment of poses.

I think The Pilates Method and Yoga are a good balance, and personally helps to push my Pilates practice further.  On the days I am need to be more grounded, Yoga explores the body, mind, spirit connection and can be more meditative.  With The Pilates Method, the focus is on how the connection between the mind and body helps with everyday life.  My favorite part of any Pilates class is when you leave with the sense of standing taller from a stronger core, now that’s a great class!

With both Pilates and Yoga classes of there are numerous benefits to each one. Let’s take a look at Yoga first; you’ll enjoy increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone, improved vitality, cardio and overall health.  With Pilates you’ll improve overall muscle, core strength and stability, improve posture, balance, and flexibility, and decrease everyday aches and pains.

Though The Pilates Method and Yoga have some key similarities, they are two very different practices.  The best way to find out which one is best for you is to try out several classes in each practice.  Mix and match between Pilates mat and equipment classes. As well as between Yoga Flow, and Hot Yoga class.  Who knows, like me, you may find that you love both practices, and are able to incorporate them both into your workout repertoire.

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