My clients often ask me what the difference is between Pilates and Yoga so I decided I would give a shot at hashing out the main differences. Of course, there are many different styles of both Pilates and Yoga but this is just a basic overview.
1. What is Pilates?
Pilates is a an exercise system that was developed by Joseph Pilates over 80 years ago. It is based on principles of control, balance, flexibility, body awareness, concentration, centering, and breathing. Pilates movements are initiated from the core (abs, pelvic floor, back) but work the entire body. Pilates exercise machines such as the "Reformer" can add a weight training element to the workout, with very precise and fluid movements, making it safer than most weight training.
2. What is Yoga?
While some people think of Yoga simply as a physical exercise, it is actually a complete, holistic system for overall health and well-being. The word Yoga means "union" in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India where Yoga originated. The union is thought to be of mind, body, and spirit. The goal of Yoga is to keep the body supple through movement and stretching. The physical postures performed in Yoga, although they condition the body, are really aimed at conditioning the mind.
3. Which to choose?
Generally speaking, if you're looking for a limbering, rejuvenating workout that will provide a lift to your brain as well as your body (but not necessarily with an emphasis on the body) - and you're not too concerned with building muscle - then Yoga may be the exercise for you. If you're interested in a more dynamic system of muscle conditioning, rehabilitation of injuries, and alignment of the body, or if you just want to try something new and different, Pilates may be the answer.
In fact, I personally believe the best solution is to incorporate a wide range of exercises in your workout regimen to keep things interesting and keep your body challenged.
Photos: Nayrus Love, Twisted Silence