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Yoga vs. Pilates?!

Many people are confused about the differences between Yoga and Pilates.

Both are mind-body disciplines, some of the exercises look similar and the six Pilates principles – centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow – could also be used to describe many forms of yoga.

Despite the similarities between Yoga and Pilates there are significant differences in the way exercises are being performed.

Pilates focuses on developing a strong Powerhouse: the muscles of the abdomen, lower back and buttocks.

The exercises are performed in a carefully designed system that develops strength in this area. In addition to mat work Pilates makes use of specially designed apparatus to develop the strength in the powerhouse.

Yoga emphasizes the stretch and the underlying goal is preparing the body for meditation. Yoga poses are mainly static: you hold the pose for several breath cycles before moving onto the next one.

Pilates keeps you moving – you perform a set number of repetitions for an exercise, then you move onto the next exercise in the system.

Although both Yoga and Pilates links use breath to enhance the exercises, the primary styles of breathing are quite different.

Pilates teaches you diaphragmatic breathing which allows you to maintain the “scoop” of your abdomen during the exercises. Yoga emphasises abdominal breathing.

If you decide to practice both Yoga and Pilates, the two systems are well suited to complement each other. Pilates can help you improve your Yoga practice by giving you the stability you need to control and deepen your Yoga poses safely.

Conversely, many Yoga poses require you to hold deep stretches developing your flexibility which can improve your Pilates form and works well with the muscle lengthening work incorporated in the method.