According to the Huffington Post, over 20 million people were practicing Yoga in the U.S. in 2012. Pilates, too, is rising in popularity. Many practice Yoga and Pilates to get the benefits of both.
Both Yoga and Pilates offer stress-relief, flexibility, strength, control, and endurance. The biggest difference between the two is the emphasis on the spiritual component in classes. Unlike Yoga, most Pilates classes don’t offer an obvious spiritual experience, however, Pilates may be a great starting point or compliment for a yoga practice.
The slower pace of a Pilates class can be meditative and stress relieving. Its creator, Joseph Pilates studied yoga and his writing indicates that it was his intention to unify the mind, body, and spirit and many of the benefits of the two practices are similar. Without Yoga, I expect there would be no Pilates.
Yoga focuses on flexibility and broad muscle groups. It offers balance, endurance, strength, spirituality, and some real physical movement. Classes can range from gentle to very challenging and hard work. There is always a class and a style for everyone to cater for all abilities.
Pilates classes focus on strength, muscle toning, body control and flexibility, with the main emphasis being core strength. Pilates is a disciplined practice that needs to be done on a regular basis to provide benefit. If you would like a more structured workout without the cardio component, chanting, or complex postures, you may find Pilates a more attractive proposition.
The question is often asked whether we should practice Yoga or Pilates? It is possible to incorporate the benefits of both and it is common to incorporate one or two Pilates sessions into Yoga workouts each week? People enjoy the flexibility, freedom and challenge of Yoga, as well as the attention to detail and abs work that Pilates provides.
We should consider our fitness priorities and level and build our exercises from there. If we’re in great shape and want to burn extra calories and work on endurance, a Yoga class would be ideal. If we’re a runner and need to fine-tune our core strength, then Pilates may be our best choice.
The main thing is that we pick a practice that we enjoy and that we can do on a regular basis.