Yoga Vs Pilates - What's The Difference?

Both Yoga and Pilates have seen a rise in popularity over the past few years but a lot of people don't know what the differences are between the two. Both forms of exercises can be extremely beneficial for the mind, body and soul, but depending on your specific goals, one may be better than the other...

Origins of Pilates

Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates, born in Monchengladbach, Germany in 1883 and suffered from many ailments as a child such as asthma. However, as an adult, he became much fitter, taking part in sports such as gymnastics, boxing and later became a self defence teacher at Scotland Yard in England. During WW1, Joseph was forced to remain in England and it is during this time that he developed his form of exercise and rigged hospital beds which were used as apparatus (what we know as reformer Pilates now) for the exercise. It is believed that during the outbreak of Influenza in 1918, thousands died but all of his patients survived. 

Origins of Yoga 

Yoga is much harder to trace back because it is such as ancient practice, but it is known by most to have begun in India around 5000 years ago as there is evidence of it in Ancient Hindu texts known as the Vedas. Yoga can be split into 5 categories: 
Verdic Yoga 
Preclassical Yoga 
Classical Yoga 
Post Classical Yoga 
Modern Yoga 
Much of the practice up until post classical Yoga was focused on spirituality and healing the mind, then the focus shifted to the importance of Yoga for the body and how it can heal us physically and help prolong life. Today, there are a variety of different practices of yoga, from Vinyasa to Hatha, however each have the principles of healing the mind body and soul. 

What's the difference? 

So now you know a little about Pilates and Yoga, it's time to see which one will benefit you the most (it could be both!) Well first off, if you're looking for a class that is more aimed towards building strength and muscle/toning, Pilates will suit you better. During the Pilates class you use bodyweight of light weights and high reps to help build muscle in the body, specifically focusing on core strength. Yoga on the other hand is usually more about balance, endurance and spirituality. Although there are a variety of types of Yoga, there is usually always a spiritual and calming element to the class unlike pilates which is more structured and focused on the body. During yoga classes you may also be practising different breathing techniques, whereas although breathing is important in Pilates, it is not practised as much. 

No matter what, it is most likely that both Yoga and Pilates will bring you health benefits. They are both forms of exercise that will help to tone, strengthen but more importantly, relax. There is nothing better than a Pilates/Yoga session after a stressful day.



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