Pilates vs Yoga, people often ask me which is better for the body, for me there is not really an answer to this question. It would be like asking me if I would prefer to eat strawberry cheesecake or mandarin cheesecake. I like cheesecake so to be I honest I would probably want to eat both. Yes, I do believe that you can have your cake and eat it. Like Cheesecake, Pilates and Yoga share a very similar base, but they do have different toppings. Which one is best for you really just depends on what you like best and what results you are looking for.
Today, however, I am going to serve you a slice of both Pilates and yoga so that you can decide which you prefer for yourself.
Pilates is a kind of resistance training method that unifies body and mind. Photo Source: Unsplash
Pilates was invented by Joseph Pilates 100 years ago to create a new form of exercise which unified the mind and body on the path to wellness and rejuvenation. While in a First World War camp in the UK, Pilates developed his idea and launched it in New York once the war was over. It took off straight away with the dance community and then spread countrywide with the help of the first Pilates students. Pilates is a kind of resistance training method that unifies body and mind.
Yoga was developed in India 5,000 years ago, of course, it was so long ago that it is unclear who exactly invented it or developed the idea. Yoga was brought to the west by yoga masters in the late 1800s and gained immediate popularity.
Unlike Pilates, Yoga is a not just an exercise it is a lifestyle and when translated it literally means to unite. There are 4 paths of yoga which are as follows.
In line with Patanjali 8 limbs of yoga, there are 10 yogic principles, 5 internal principles (Niyamas) and 5 external Principles (Yamas).
Niyama in Sanskrit can be translated as Observance. The five internal practices of Niyama support the observance of self-discipline, inner-strength and deal with our inner consciousness.
The Five Internal Practices Are Known As;
Yamas in Sanskrit can be translated as a moral discipline. The five practices of the Yamas are based on morality, proper conduct and self-restraint.
The 5 restraints listed within Yamas are as follows:
Joseph Pilates invented Pilates to follow a set of principles, these principles are the foundation of Pilates, and when used together in your practise they support you to achieve all of the benefits that Pilates has to offer.
Pilates and Yoga share a very similar base. Photo Source: Unsplash
There are numerous forms of yoga, but the most well known is Hatha yoga which originated from the path of Raja yoga and is the primary school of yoga practiced in the west. In Sanskrit Hatha is broken into 2 words; ‘Ha’ which means Sun and ‘that’ which means moon, the yoga of the sun and moon. Many other styles of yoga have been formed from hatha yoga.
Pilates also has many forms and styles which have developed since its creation. It has 2 main forms Mat Pilates and Equipment-based Pilates. It also has 2 main styles Classical Pilates and contemporary Pilates. Within both methods, there are many forms of Pilates such as Stott Pilates, Polestar Pilates, Clinical Pilates, Reformer Pilates etc.
The benefits of Pilates and yoga asanas are quite similar, they both work with the breath, increase flexibility, increase strength and body awareness.
The benefits of practising Pilates are that you will be able to improve your core strength which will encourage great posture, better spinal alignment, strength within your joints and balanced wellness overall. It is a total body workout meaning that all of your body develops and improves together. It supports lean muscles, weight loss, improved energy and increased strength.
The benefits of asana practise are that all of the systems of the body (internal and external) can be moved towards well-being. This happens through stimulation, massage, flexibility, awareness and increased circulation. The systems of the body Improved with yoga asana include the muscles, joints, internal organs, skin, brain, nervous system, blood, heart and lungs. In addition to this, the asanas can remove fat, tension and stress from the body which protects from the onset of disease. The asanas promote a healthy well-functioning body and mind.
Pilates adds a form of mindfulness to the posture and is another key to support the connection between your body and mind. Photo Source: Unsplash
Personally, I think that the main difference between Yoga and Pilates is that yoga is a lifestyle system and Pilates is an exercise system. Pilates was inspired in part by yoga so naturally there will be some similarities.
Pilates focuses on the relaxing and strengthening the muscular body and gives you the benefit of a toned and lean form with strong muscles. It can often use some different kinds of equipment also. Great for people who want to tone their body, especially the abs.
Yoga heavily focuses on the mind, body and spirit and uses much more stretching to improve the flexibility of joints. The main aim of yoga is uniting the body and mind to find peace and harmony. You need no equipment to practise yoga only a yoga mat. You can also lose weight with yoga, but it is not generally the primary focus. Great for people who are looking for more flexibility, spirituality and stress reduction.
While Pilates is excellent for toning, it also aids flexibility, and while yoga is excellent for the flexibility, it also tones your body. They really are very interchangeable, and many of the benefits of yoga and Pilates are shared. It just comes down to a personal choice about what you prefer. Why bother to choose? Just practise both and enjoy the fantastic benefits that they will both deliver.