Pilates or Yoga - What's the difference?

18th July 2017

Pilates or Yoga - What's the difference?
Many people believe that Yoga and Pilates are basically the same thing. Well those people are very, very wrong. The two styles do have similarities, mainly in their benefits, but there are obvious differences between the two.

The question is; which should you do?

The answer to that is not so straightforward and it really depends on what you're looking to achieve.

A Background

The biggest difference between the two is in their origins. Yoga dates back more than 5,000 years since it's conception in India. Traditionally, it has always been practiced in Eastern culture, with it having strong ties to countries where the religion is predominantly Buddhism or Hinduism.

In western culture, Yoga's emergence is much more recent. It has become a popular celebrity trend and as a result receives lots of mainstream media coverage.

Pilates does not have the same depth to it's history. It was founded in the 20th century by Joseph Pilates, a German Physical Trainer. He designed the method to help strengthen the body's core and repair injuries.

Another difference between the two styles is the mental approach. Yoga is very much focused on the mind and it's connection with the body and wellbeing. It's about spirituality and positive thinking, whereas Pilates is more focused on how the mind and body combine to help you complete general tasks day-to-day.

The final key difference is in class structure. Yoga classes are generally more flexible, unless you are doing a Bikram Yoga class. Different styles of Yoga use a variation of poses throughout a routine so that the experience remains unique. Pilates on the other hand is designed to target specific areas of the body, so there is a limit as to how this can be achieved. For that reason, there is more class structure.

The benefits of Pilates and Yoga

Because each style varies in both style and content, both can be used to achieve very different goals. Both Pilates and Yoga have lots of benefits, but certain aspects might make you want to choose one over the other.


Strengthening Your Core

This is really what Pilates is all about, it's why Joseph Pilates created it. A regular gym workout will keep you in shape, but it won't hit those deep muscles in your core. Pilates exercises will let you tackle the deep abdominals and improve your stability and strength around the bottom of the spine. When it comes to body conditioning, there's nothing that can compete with Pilates.

Injury recovery

Pilates has become renowned for being used as an injury rehabilitation programme. Many elite athletes including soccer players, NBA players and golfers use it to recover from and prevent recurrences of injury. The important thing is that Pilates can target specific areas, but does not ignore the other parts of the body. This prevents muscular imbalance which is a leading cause of repeat, or knock-on injuries.

Back Pain

Every year, back pain costs the nation's economy billions. It's the most common cause of workplace sickness, yet it is so easily preventable. Simple Pilates exercises will strengthen the base of the spine, making it more flexible and preventing poor posture causing lasting damage. This will help to make day-to-day tasks easier and is particularly effective for people who spend long periods of time sat at desks.


Stress relief

Yoga is the ultimate stress relief tool. It'll teach you breathing techniques that you can take with you anywhere. Feeling overwhelmed at work? Stressed on holiday? No problem, 15 minutes of Yoga and you'll be all calmed down. The breathing techniques are particularly effective during labour! So if you're expecting a baby in the coming months, now would be a great time to join a class.

Get Flexible

Yoga is well championed for improving flexibility. A yoga routine helps to improve the range of motion in the joints and stretches key muscles. An American University Study found that an 8 week yoga course could increase flexibility up to 35%! It'll also boost muscular endurance and agility.

Find a Pilates Class Near You

Both styles are well worth your time, in fact, they can benefit each other if you can find room in your busy schedule to do a bit of both.

Finding a class is easy too. On the 'NearYou' App there are both Pilates & Yoga classes all across the United States.

Alternatively, to find your nearest Pilates Instructor, head to the Pilates Near You homepage and enter your location to find the classes available in your area.

You can also find Yoga classes by following the same steps on Yoga Class Near you.
Source: Pilates Near You