Yoga Vs. Pilates — What’s The Difference and Which Is Right For You?

Yoga vs. pilates, how do you know which is the right one for you? They seem to provide similar benefits, so it might be hard for you to distinguish between the two. However, over the years, they have evolved, and gyms across the country have different variations — which means there is something for everyone! 

Both yoga and pilates are considered low-impact workouts that mainly focus on bodyweight resistance. Both styles of workouts have the potential to increase overall health and quality of life. They focus on mind and body connection, and though their health benefits are similar, their approaches and goals tend to differ. Let’s dive into the differences between yoga vs. pilates and help you decide which one might be best for you!

Complete Guide To The Difference and Benefits of Yoga Vs. Pilates

Yoga is an Indian practice that dates back nearly 5,000 years. It includes breathing, mediation, and proper posture to help connect the mind and body and promote well-being. The intention of yoga is to deepen that connection by holding and advancing poses while mentally focusing on the breath. Its origins began as a primarily spiritual practice that evolved to incorporate more physical challenges in the 1900s.

Pilates, on the other hand, is much younger. It was developed in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates to help injured veterans during World War 1. He introduced the practice as Contrology, focusing on using the mind to control the muscles and strengthen the core. Pilates aims to help each group of muscles in your body to develop uniformly while increasing postural awareness through activation and stabilization. Typically, each movement with pilates is slow and precise, focusing on core strength. 

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Benefits of Yoga

Yoga comprises five beliefs: proper relaxation, breathing, positive thinking and mediation, and proper diet. 

It’s no secret that mindfulness and deep breathing are key features in any yoga practice. There are several different types of yoga that all require holding various poses and flowing through different movements. This increased awareness of the breath and energy flowing through your body can be pretty beneficial. These benefits of yoga have been studied extensively for years. Many medical professionals have claimed that yoga has had positive effects on patients suffering from anxiety, depression, arthritis, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and more. It has also been linked to better sleep. 

In addition, consistent yoga practice can drain your lymph nodes and boost your immunity. When you stretch and contract your muscles during the fluid movements of yoga poses, you increase the drainage of the lymph, which can help your lymphatic system fight off infections and cancerous cells and dispose of toxic waste in your cells.

Benefits of Pilates

Joseph Pilates spent years refining his approach when it came to pilates, and his work has not gone unnoticed. As a result, pilates might increase muscle strength and endurance, lead to better balance, improve posture and flexibility and even help decrease joint pain. 

Pilates focuses on small movements with a specific emphasis on stabilizing the back and core. Each exercise should start with a controlled breath to start the contraction of core muscles. Pilates can be done on a mat, but it doesn’t require much special equipment, only your own body weight to provide resistance.

Medical evidence suggests that Pilates may be beneficial for those dealing with arthritis, urinary incontinence, respiratory conditions, back pain, or joint injuries.

Its main benefit is the improvement in both flexibility and mobility. Flexibility is defined as the amount of passive stretch in a specific muscle. Mobility is the range of motion at the joint. Great mobility combines flexibility and strength. Pilates helps you move with smooth transitions to precise and slow controlled movements. Pilates is a combination of stretching and strengthening, which improves your mobility and flexibility.

Which is better: Yoga Or Pilates?

Here are the key takeaways when it comes to choosing yoga vs. pilates: 

  • First, both workouts can be performed at home with very little equipment. Typically you might need a mat or a yoga block, but you can make do without them.
  • They both focus on breathing correctly during exercise, specifically diaphragmatic breathing, which involves breathing deep into the belly. 
  • Yoga and pilates can be tailored to different fitness levels and can help you reduce stress.

When it comes to choosing which is better for you, the answer will vary depending on what you’re looking for. What are your goals? Pilates might have the edge if you’re looking to become stronger overall and are looking for better performance in your other activities. Pilates focuses on core strength and stability but still majorly challenges your muscles and makes you feel the burn.

Yoga might be the way to go if you’re all about zen and clearing your head. Yoga focuses on flexibility, relaxation, and forming a deeper mind-body connection. For most people, yoga is a workout that also gives you a chance to destress and recenter.

Bottom Line

The instructor leading your yoga or pilates class also makes a difference in how effective the exercise is! The key to long-term success with any activity is consistency, so it pays to find an instructor or studio that motivates you to keep going! 

The hardest part is showing up! At Community Fitness, we’ve got the best instructors in Seattle and a mix of in-studio or online yoga and pilates classes that you will love! 

Check out our studio classes today, or try a few of our on-demand videos to see what we’re talking about.