The Difference Between Yoga And Pilates

As a Pilates instructor, one of the questions I get asked all the time is “What’s the difference between Yoga & Pilates?”.  So I thought I’d do my best to explain!

Yoga & Pilates Have Completely Different Origins

Yoga originated from India over 5000 years ago, whereas Pilates was invented in the early 1900s by Joseph Pilates, who was from Germany.

Use In Clinical Practice

The roots of Pilates are from Joseph’s method, Contrology, which he used to rehabilitate soldiers from the first world war.  Pilates is still widely used in rehabilitation settings by physios & personal trainers.  Whereas yoga focuses on the mind-body connection and you’ll find programmes incorporating yoga exercises & techniques less widely prescribed in health & fitness settings such as by physios & PTs.

The Equipment Used In Yoga & Pilates Differs

The equipment you use in each varies.  In both you use a mat.  However, in Yoga, you use props such as blocks & straps.  Whereas in Pilates you use small equipment such as resistance bands, balls, magic circles, and there are also large equipment options that some studios offer, where you exercise on a reformer or cadillac.

Yoga & Pilates Have A Different Focus

Yoga is a spiritual & meditative practice.  Some forms of yoga will work on improving strength & flexibility, but the focus is on spirituality & it usually takes a more meditative approach.  However, whilst Pilates still incorporates mindfulness & some classes will have relaxation & breathing exercises included, Pilates classes are seen as a more standard approach to exercise.  The focus is on body alignment & the control of your movement.

There Are Variations In The Poses Used In Yoga & Pilates

In Pilates, you tend to move through exercises, and do not traditionally hold poses.  You’ll also likely only complete an exercise once in a Pilates class, before moving on to the next one.  In yoga poses can be held for extended periods of times, and positions and sequences of movements are often repeated throughout the class.

Which is best?  

Ah! The age-old question! Well, the answer is whichever you prefer!  Movement is medicine, motion is lotion.  The exercise which is best, is the one you enjoy the most & will complete consistently!

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