Difference Between Pilates and Yoga

Jul 28, 2015

Pilates and Yoga: How the Two Differ from Each Other

Exercise to maintain the health of the body and mind has been an important feature of daily life for centuries. Two types of exercise that have stood the test of time include the ancient practice of yoga and the art of Pilates. These two exercise regimes share a number of similarities, however are unique in several ways.

Of the two, yoga is the more ancient one, dating back almost 5000 years. Yogis and yoginis in the Indian sub-continent developed the basics of yoga. It survived throughout time, and gradually reached the Western countries in the 19th century. From there on, it gathered a bigger following each day, attracting trainers and learners alike.

Pilates, on the other hand, is more modern in terms of its time of inception. Joseph Pilates, a German immigrant to the USA, developed Pilates as a method of rehabilitation and strengthening for soldiers in World War One. Joseph set up a Pilates studio in New York which gained fame for the effectiveness of the workout on the body. Both learners and trainers were attracted to the simple method, and gradually it spread within the USA and then around the world.

Pilates and yoga are often pronounced in the same breath due to the uncanny similarities they portray in terms of poses and exercises. However, amid all the similarities, there are differences as well that make Pilates and yoga distinctively different from each other.

In terms of similarities, a major feature that is shared by the two is the basic principles of both Pilates and Yoga. Both disciplines believe in restoring balance to the body and harmonising the mind. Both disciplines believe that only by achieving complete balance of a peaceful mind and sound body can one truly enjoy relaxation.

Another very much apparent likeness between the two is the ambiance and basic equipments they use. Mat-based Pilates, especially, requires only an exercise mat and workout clothes to perform. Similarly, yoga requires simple clothing and barely any equipment.

Another striking similarity is the way the two affect the body on a physical and mental level. Unlike weight training, Yoga and Pilates both work on inner muscles, making your body strong from within. A toned physique is the natural outcome of these exercises, but it is not as prominent as what weight training can offer. Instead, Pilates and Yoga both aim to make you stronger and more enduring from within the body.

However, Pilates and Yoga come with a number of dissimilarities as well. For example, the application of the two principles on the body follows completely different directions. Yoga aims to work on the spine, making the surrounding area of the body stronger to adapt to further yoga exercises. Pilates, on the other hand, works with the concept of core, or strengthening the abdomen area of the body. According to Pilates basics, the core is the powerhouse of the body, giving it support throughout all sorts of movements. For this reason, Pilates experts believed that working on the core is important.

Another important difference between the two is the focus on breathing. In Yoga, breathing is of paramount importance as the success of different poses depends on their coordination and connectedness with breathings. Pilates, on the other hand, sees breathing as more of a secondary aspect of exercise. Pilates uses breathing to prepare the body for further exercise as well for relaxation of the mind.

Furthermore, the poses and postures of the two differ from each other to quite some extent. Yoga poses, or ‘asanas’ are done mostly standing or sitting, or sometimes even standing upside down. Pilates, on the other hand, utilizes poses that have a greater emphasis on a supine, or lying down position.

In conclusion, it can be said that both Pilates and Yoga are beneficial for the body and the mind to quite some extent. Depending on your needs and targets, you can opt for any one them to attain a stronger body and peaceful mind.

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