As a Pilates Instructor, I often get asked about the difference between Yoga and Pilates. There are many benefits to both practices; they are low-impact and can bring about many positive physical and emotional changes. So what are the similarities and differences ?
Yoga was an ancient spiritual practice that began in India. It focuses on mindfulness and involves holding poses (asanas) with breathing techniques (pranayama). There are many different types of Yoga including Hatha and Bikram. The pace of the class can be slower fast -paced with advanced poses. Yoga usually involves holding poses for a certain amount of time and flows from one pose to the next. It is a great way to improve flexibility, improve balance, and help reduce stress. Caution should be taken if there are health issues such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, glaucoma, and high blood pressure. There are modifications that can be done to help avoid the risk of injury.
Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates, who grew up in Germany in the early 1900s. He was plagued by health issues and turned to studying disciplines like yoga, boxing, and martial arts. He discovered the connection of the mind and body. He worked with injured soldiers as a prisoner of war during WW1 in Europe. Later in his life, he and his wife Clara worked with rehabilitating injured dancers in New York City. Pilates relies on on building the strength of the core muscles including the important smaller stabilizing muscle. The strength of the core provides the foundation to build into more advanced exercises. Pilates can be practiced with equipment, like a Reformer or Cadillac, but can also be done with just a mat. Along with increasing core strength, Pilates can improve posture, improve stability, improve stress levels, and ease lower back pain. It is frequently used in physical therapy to help with many issues such as scoliosis, back pain, and hip and knee replacement rehabilitation.
So which one is it? Yoga or Pilates? That depends on what you're looking for...Yoga is a combination of meditation, movement, and breathing that often have a spiritual component. It involves holding poses and flows and helps increase overall flexibility. Pilates is designed to strengthen the core with specific exercises to improve posture, flexibility, and strength. The movements in Pilates tend to be smaller and more precise, focusing on strengthening the smaller stabilizer muscles that support the core. The breath work and mind-body connection in Pilates helps to center the body and improve mental focus. Both Yoga and Pilates have great benefits , find a class near you and give it a try... Check out some great Pilates mat exercises in our Kore Video section!