When looked at from a distance, there seems to be little difference between yoga and Pilates as they both encourage mobility, flexibility, and strength building. However, there are some key differences between them that make them better suited to certain goals and body-types.
The Key differences between Yoga & Pilates
Pilates’ main focus is core strength and exercises that emphasize muscle toning, strength, body control, and flexibility. It requires a consistent effort in order to provide any real benefit so spending prolonged periods of time away from your Pilates mat could set you back. However, if you prefer a structured workout without the cardio; Pilates is a viable option.
Yoga focuses more on flexibility and balance, developing broad muscle groups. It’s a collection of physical, spiritual and mental exercises that come from ancient India so aside from the obvious physical benefits, for many it’s also an enriching spiritual experience. Pilates also places a strong emphasis on connecting body and mind but in yoga, this is largely encouraged through meditation.
Both yoga and Pilates target muscle groups throughout the entire body. While yoga does this to improve flexibility of muscles and joints, Pilates is geared more towards relaxing the muscles and building strength. Though, that’s not to say that each practice caters exclusively to these goals.
Yoga and Pilates are both beneficial forms of exercise, but which one is ideal for you?
Difference #1: Class structure
One major difference between yoga and Pilates is the structure of classes. There’s more freedom in a yoga class because there are hundreds of different pose combinations that can make up one session. This means that no two classes will be the same. Classes can also be gentle or more vigorous so you can choose a style that suits you and your goals. On the other hand, Pilates is more structured and predictable so if you prefer knowing what to expect from every workout, Pilates is more for you.
Difference #2: For the health of your heart
When it comes to cardio, there’s little difference between yoga and Pilates. Beginner Pilates classes won’t give you much of a cardio workout but as you gain more experience, the cardio activity increases. Regular practice of Pilates keeps your heart-rate elevated, which means it works well alongside cardiovascular workouts to increase lung capacity and blood-flow. This also means it does a lot to stave off the risk of heart disease.
Yoga improves blood circulation through flexibility. It will elevate your heart-rate if you do a heated 90-minute Bikram yoga class but most forms of yoga provide little cardio benefit. Since yoga routines pay careful attention to breathing, it is an excellent activity for improving lung capacity and oxygen circulation in the body.
Difference #3: For losing weight
As they both elevate the heart-rate, each activity does have its own fat-burning potential, depending on what you do. A sweaty Bikram yoga class in a hot and humid studio will certainly get your heart-rate up. If you’re already in good shape; a Hatha, Vinyasa, or Anusara yoga class will help you burn extra calories. But to really reach your weight loss goals, a better approach is rigorous and regular cardiovascular activity coupled with Pilates, or yoga or both. Both are excellent for building strength, but used on their own, neither practice will torch thousands of calories.
Difference #4: For building strength
Strength building is where both Pilates and yoga shine, but in both cases progress is gradual. Both practices are low impact, which means they strengthen your joints and muscles without damaging them. There’s also very little risk of injury. Both practices are particularly good for engaging and building the core muscle group while targeting all areas of the body. However when it comes to observable results, Pilates offers the better workout by incorporating resistance and mat training into its routines.
Should you practise yoga or Pilates?
Both yoga and Pilates offer a range of benefits that are often indistinguishable from one another. So, why choose one when you can benefit from both?
Consider your body, fitness goals, and level of strength and decide what will work best for you. Yoga not only offers flexibility, but challenges your body’s endurance. It also requires less equipment (depending on the type of yoga) to practise privately.
Pilates offers attention to detail and ab work not seen in yoga. If you’re a runner or cyclist and need to improve your core strength, then Pilates is easily the best choice.
Of course, by practicing a combination of these activities, you can take advantage of all of their benefits. Above all, choose one that you enjoy and would be willing to do on a regular basis.
Trifocus Fitness Academy offers you the opportunity to become a mind-body specialist by mastering the art of yoga and Pilates and having a fundamental knowledge of the human body.
Use practices such as meditation, yoga and Pilates, to better your quality of life and that of those around you. Contact Trifocus Fitness Academy today and speak to us about our mind-body specialist certification.