Pilates V Yoga

This is something that I get asked day in day out…. “What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?”

I can 100% say that they are both different in their pure form and I can also say that there are a lot of similarities which link them closely together. More so now than ever, Pilates and Yoga have been placed very highly within the gym and social setting. Big fitness companies have introduced classes combining them both (Yogalates) which can also lead to slight confusion when individuals come to choose a pure Pilates or a Yoga class.

So, what are the basic differences?

Well Yoga has been around for many more moons than Pilates. Yoga goes back some 5000 years where the emphasis was based around a way of living, combining mind, body and spirit to work harmoniously as one. This form lends itself to people dealing with high stress levels as it helps them to calm and relax during the session with flexibility and strength as a by-product. There are also many different styles of yoga, some more dynamic and others fairly static.

Pilates on the other hand was designed during WW1 by Joseph Pilates which helped the rehabilitation of many soldiers. Consequently, Pilates is used as part of many rehab programmes today, in fact this was one of the main reasons I went into teaching Pilates as I experienced this first hand after a herniated disc. Although a session can make you feel relaxed, the primary focus is on how the body can move more efficiently, developing better posture through movement. There are different styles of delivery of Pilates however all function from the fundamentals developed by Joseph Pilates.


How is the breath used?

Within both Pilates and Yoga, the breath is used to help facilitate movement and stationary positions. The emphasis however is slightly different in both. Within Yoga, the breath is used to help slow the body and mind down allowing deeper stretches and flexibility in movement. Pilates uses the breath as a way of moving the body in and out of movement in a more dynamic and efficient way, it allows for the correct muscles to be working and releasing ones that are not needed for a particular exercise.

What equipment is used in Pilates and Yoga?

Both techniques use a mat and props such as bands and blocks however, Pilates isn’t just a mat based technique. Pilates also uses machines such as the reformer, Cadillac, chair and barrels to help add resistance to the movements within the repertoire to help with toning and alignment.

Hanging out on the Cadillac

Which is harder, Pilates or Yoga? …How long is a piece of string?

They both vary in their intensity, this is widely based on the teacher you have, no names mentioned! However, both can be as hard you make it. Traditionally Pilates is based more on strengthening the core. Exercises can vary in intensity, working muscles that are often forgotten about in day to day life. Although Yoga still gives you core strength the focus is not primarily the core but more towards the holding of poses and flexibility. – Both will challenge the body during a workout!

Get yourself down to a Pilates or Yoga class, sign up with a friend and see how you feel.

Always speak to your teacher about what you are wanting to achieve, let them know about your own goals and any physical problems you may have, then they should be able to advise you.

One thing I would say is that you cannot expect to have results straight away. It takes time, like anything in life, so stick at it and you can achieve the goals you want.

There are different types of styles in both Pilates and Yoga so keep exploring until you find the style that is right for you and your body.

I teach Pilates in the Truro, Cornwall area and always love to see new faces, so if you are looking to try something new come along and see what Pilates can do for you. I teach both mat and apparatus (reformer, Cadillac, barrels and chair) and I am passionate about helping my clients achieve their goals. Get in contact with me for more information and start your Pilates journey today!

If you’re interested in trying some dynamic Yoga, check out my friend Kimi, @kimi_yogas her yoga classes are fab!!

Message me at [email protected]

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