Most people assume that yoga and Pilates are the same thing. Both exercises happen on a mat, involve relaxation and help with flexibility. So they must be exactly the same right? Wrong, whilst they are often classed as similar, their purposes and methods are quite different.
So, what’s the difference between yoga and Pilates?
Yoga – conditioning your mind & body
Yoga focuses on uniting the mind, body and spirit. It creates a meditative environment for you to improve your overall quality of life focusing on stress relief whilst improving your body. Yoga is about the energy flowing through your body and the more freely it flows the more centred you feel. However, physical tension impedes this flow causing your body to become rigid and tight. This is where yoga comes in, it helps to keep the body supple and strong though controlled stretching and strengthening. It focuses on creating a mental and physical balance.
The core principles are positive thinking and meditation, relaxation, a good diet, proper breathing and exercise. Those who practice yoga advocate ‘living yoga’, it isn’t just something that people pop along to once a week to get fit. They won’t then go eat a burger afterwards, as it’s a lifestyle.
Yoga calms the mind through repetitive movement and will at some point feature meditation. Thus why many people practice it in order to relax. It is also a useful tool to increase joint flexibility and build strength. Quite a lot of the movements are on an exercise mat. The weight of the body is used as a resistance for the exercise. A lot of focus goes into each movement, and the flow in and out of each position is fluid.
Read more: What Yoga can do for you
Pilates – getting a stronger & leaner body
Pilates focuses on gaining flexibility, strength and body awareness without bulking up. Unlike yoga, it focuses more on the fitness aspect. Pilates is abdominal intensive, using the core abdominal for every movement, strengthening and enhancing posture and agility. It strengthens your stomach, back, arms, inner thighs and gluts. Along with improving posture, stabilising and elongating the spine and developing balance.
Pilates concentrates on creating an understanding that the mind and body are connected. However, it doesn’t explore spirituality like Yoga does. The core principles are concentration, control, centring, flow, breath and precision. You are creating a better you with a leaner and toned body.
Unlike yoga, Pilates isn’t a life philosophy. It focuses on exercises using the core of the body to make you stronger from inside and out. The exercises differ as they aren’t solely on a mat, they also use specific machinery. Weight resistance, springs and pulleys can often be used to tackle separate muscle groups, and help you achieve that fitter body. Pilates also helps prevent injuries or rehabilitate bodies after an injury. It also aids with managing pain and muscle soreness.