Yoga vs Pilates

Both Pilates and yoga are fantastic ways to tone up and stretch your body. However, there are also major differences between Pilates and yoga in regards to origin, practice and health benefits. Below I’ve summarised each activity and why it might be perfect for you. 

Origin: Yoga originated from India more than 5,000 years ago whereas Pilates is a relatively new exercise, emerging in the mid 20th century.

Focus: Yoga brings an unique wholesome view of the body during exercise, encapsulating the mind and spirit. It centers on grounding the body through poses that increase stability, balance and flexibility. Within Pilates the focus is more is on conditioning, rehabilitation and strengthening.

Both yoga and Pilates practice being mindful during exercise. The exercises are performed in time with the breath to relieve tension and promote clarity. However, yoga adds a more emotional attachment to physical activity by sometimes including meditation at the beginning or end of the practice.

Furthermore, yoga can provide an incentive to be dedicated to the practice. There are a variety of challenging poses that can take months to master. The sense of achievement after tackling a tough position can assist in maintaining motivational levels.

Classes: In both yoga and Pilates there are numerous classes you can take. In yoga they can vary from Ashtanga and Bikram, which focus on different elements of yoga. There are a wide range of postures, poses and sequences that are utilised to create a full body workout and mental awareness.

On the contrary, Pilates classes can be a little more structured. It’s most likely that you will know in advance the body area targeted in a class, such as glutes or shoulders. Yet, classes can also be tailored around individual needs, such as rehabilitation and mobility or balance.

Health Benefits: For the average fitness level, yoga and Pilates will not suffice as a cardio workout. The aerobic capacity needed to perform the poses and exercise in both practices is minimal, instead focusing on strength, flexibility and balance.

These fitness components are often overlooked in fitness regimes and as such, both yoga and Pilates are great additions to a healthy lifestyle. The exercises often target small stability muscles that rarely get mobilized in daily life (or during cardio and weight training). These muscles are vital for minimizing injuries and increasing  balance.

Moreover, yoga can provide a sense of mental well being and peace. It has been shown to reduce the amount of cortisol in the body, in turn reducing stress and anxiety. This is due to the connection between the mind, body and spirit being strengthened.

Whilst yoga boasts mental well being, Pilates is possibly better at conditioning the body. Instead of traditional sit ups, Pilates focuses on holistic moves that target the whole abdominal plate. Additionally, Pilates promotes better posture and alignment of the spine through strengthening back exercises.

Overall, yoga and Pilates both provide a bountiful of health benefits. Every person is unique and as such should choose a practice that suits their needs. The activities are in no way exclusive with many people, including myself, performing both practices weekly.

Let me know what your favourite workout is 🙂


10 thoughts on “Yoga vs Pilates”

  1. Hi Jessica, I loved the way you explained yoga and pilates. I don’t know much about pilates, but have been practicing yoga and pranayam since a long time and vouch for their benefits. Apart from that I love my morning walks.
    Thanks for such a great post. Looking forward to read more from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Jesse, what a fantastic post and wonderful blog….and, look at you!!!! Those poses are soooo impressive…and, the sunshine makes me feel warm just looking at it. I live in New Brunswick, Canada–and we are having the first real snowfall of winter, and word is, it’s going to be a doozy. I really look forward to learning more from you…and, to being inspired by you…I haven’t worked out for a long, long time–but used to love aerobics and free weights…step class was a particular favourite back in the day. Anyway, enough of my rambling….I’ll end by saying that I really appreciate the info you shared and how you shared it….thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your so kind! Thankyou for your feedback, I hope I continue to inspire you 😊
      Haha yeah, it’s just starting to heat up in AUS. I’ve never seen the snow, I imagine it’s amazing!
      Good luck on your fitness journey 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve yet to try pilates but I can tell you that yoga and the balance required is amazing at creating functional strength. Plus if you do hot yoga (which I have and slipped all over the place due to slipper sweat adding to the workout… gross I know) you get your heart rate up. I have heard/read some detriments to the hot yoga. How do you feel about the benefits/detriments of hot yoga?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, yoga is fantastic at developing strength especially in isometric position holds.

      In my opinion, I prefer regular yoga to hot yoga. I understand that your heart rate goes up, and as such you loose weight and get a more cardiac workout. However, most of this is water weight due to the extreme loss of sweat (as you said haha). Additionally, your internal body temperature will also rise which may lead to heat exhaustion or stroke due to the humid external environment. This may mean feeling weak, dizzy and nauseated. I also think the concept that you sweat out toxins during hot yoga is a myth. Mostly sweat is made up of water and important electrolytes, so essentially you may end up dehydrating yourself.

      However, many people swear by hot yoga and love how it makes them feel. I think it’s up to the individual to decide what is best for themselves by trying new and different things. All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

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