Can you think back to a time when yoga and Pilates studios were not found in every shopping center? Two fitness trends that exploded on to the scene and have remained strong are the ancient practice of yoga and the strength-via-movement exercises of Pilates. In theory, both are very similar as they aim to improve your flexibility, strength, endurance, and overall health and well-being. The evidence that both are immensely effective can be found in the research and countless user reports.
If you have tried neither and are curious which one is better for you, then you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at these two fitness methods to see which one will provide you with the most benefit.
What is Yoga?
Originating in India, yoga is a Hindu practice that focus on both mind and body. Yoga requires that you focus on breathing and mindfulness while you move through a series of postures that allow the body to improve flexibility. Over time, yoga does promote strength gains as the body is able to support itself.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a relatively new system of exercise. While yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, Pilates just jumped into the game less than 100 years ago. Pilates incorporates movements that focus on strengthening the musculature while also boosting endurance, balance, and posture.
Differences Between Yoga and Pilates
Sound the same, right? While the goals of yoga and Pilates are similar, the execution is quite different. As a modern-day exercise system, Pilates is applicable to the functionality of modern day life. For example, you want to increase your strength via Pilates so that you can avoid injury while playing with the kids. Pilates also focuses directly on the core as this is where all movement originates. Breath control and mindfulness are not the focus in Pilates.
Yoga, on the other hand, is a practice that focuses on connecting mind, body, and spirit. This is why every yoga session begins and ends with mindfulness practice. Yoga’s aim is to better your body, especially proper posture, and, more importantly, to bring your mind into the present moment. The focus is on breath control and mindfulness; the movements are a tool to achieve that. As a result, yoga promotes strength, endurance, and flexibility but they are secondary to a calm mind.
Which One Should You Choose?
Before choosing one over the other, it’s important to assess your present physical condition. Both of these types of exercises demand a lot from your body but there are certainly beginner classes that can get you started.
To put it simply, both are amazing. Both will help you achieve a new level of physical fitness. The deciding factor should be whether you’re comfortable with the practice of mindfulness in yoga. If that’s something that will turn you off after a session or two, then start with Pilates. If you want inner peace along with a great body, then drop into a yoga class.
Tell Us What You Think!
Have you practiced yoga or Pilates?
What were the benefits that you noticed?
What were the differences between the classes?
Let us know in the comments below!