There has been a lot of confusion between Pilates and yoga, and now is the time to finally clear things up. Both seem to offer similar workouts. They are also both low-intensity workouts focusing on bodyweight resistance and provide vast benefits. And essentially, the two exercises can help improve quality of life.
Pilates and yoga have a similar goal: unite your mind and body. Yet, there are significant differences, too. Understanding the distinction between the two can help you pick the right exercise that fits your needs.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is about uniting the mind and body. By performing specific techniques, yoga can heal the body and find mental harmony. Many yoga teachers are still committed to the traditional spiritual principles of yoga. However, most instructors and gyms offer yoga classes primarily to burn calories and shape up the body.
Yoga has been around for 3,000 years, but to where it originally came from is still unknown. Yoga is closely associated with Buddhism, shamanism, and other Eastern religions. There are five principles in yoga:
- Proper relaxation
In yoga, deep breath and mindfulness are empirical. It’s about relaxing yourself and being in the now. There are different types of yoga, but the techniques are all based on proper poses and flowing through various movements.
To put it simply, yoga is a combination of stability, flexibility, and mindfulness. It’s being aware of your energy and breathing.
Yoga offers a lot of benefits, both physically and mentally. Performing you can improve:
- High blood pressure
- Respiratory conditions
- Chronic pain
- Type-2 diabetes
- Multiple sclerosis
Is Yoga for Weight Loss?
Yoga can help you reduce weight, but it depends on the type of yoga you’ll perform.
It’s also important to remember that several factors are linked to weight loss, such as your calorie and carb intake, lifestyle, and eating habits.
The primary principle of yoga is to help you be mindful. If you wish to use yoga to lose weight, you must be in a type of yoga that challenges your body, the kind that will make your heart beat faster.
What is Pilates?
Pilates was named after Joseph Pilates. He developed Pilates in the early 20th century. Now, Pilates is being practised all over the globe, especially in Western countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.
Pilates was originally called Contrology. Joseph considered this to be a body-mind-spirit approach with principles focusing on centring, control, concentration, precision, breath, and flow.
Like yoga, Pilates uses light workouts and small movements. It has proven to:
- Reduce joint pain
- Enhance posture and flexibility
- Promote better balance and stability
- Strengthen muscle
- Develops core strength
- Increases energy
- Improve endurance
- Promotes weight loss
- Help maintain a lean and slim appearance
It’s essential to start a pilates exercise with proper and controlled breathing. Doing so can help initiate a contraction of the core muscles. You can perform Pilates on a mat or anywhere with a smooth, flat surface.
Pilates uses unique equipment like springs and levers, mainly to provide resistance.
According to a collection of evidence, Pilates is good for people with:
- Arthritis (Arthritis Foundation)
- Back pain (National Health Services)
- Urinary incontinence (Biomedical Central Women’s Health)
- Joint pain (Better Health Channel)
- Respiratory issues (Fisioterapia e Pesquisa)
Can Pilates for Weight Loss?
Pilates can help you trim down and tone your muscles, but it is not as effective as cardio workouts, like swimming or running. The reason is that you will burn fewer calories in Pilates than you would if you do cardio exercises.
Nevertheless, Pilates helps you maintain a healthy weight, tone up, improve posture, and build lean muscle.
If you want to lose significant weight with Pilates, you can try combining Pilates with a strict diet and other forms of exercise, such as cycling, walking, or running.
The Similarity of Yoga and Pilates
- You can perform yoga and Pilates with little equipment. You only need a mat (clean flat surface will do) and a few unique props like a Pilates ring.
- Both fitness programs focus on controlled breathing during exercise. They also emphasise on breathing deep into the belly.
- You need mental focus on yoga and Pilates. By being mindful, you can reduce stress. Both exercises can also
- The two fitness programs are low-intensity. They can help you tone your muscles and achieve leaner muscles.
Choosing Between Yoga VS Pilates
Take note that there are several variables to consider when selecting which type of exercise to perform. Yes, both are light exercises and have particular health benefits.
If you want to battle depression and anxiety, yoga is the better option. Yoga and Pilates seem almost identical, but they differ a lot when it comes to breathing techniques.
The breathing exercises in yoga can help you achieve relaxation and be more focused on the now. Yoga exercises are majorly emphasised on concentration to breathing. When done correctly, your body can relax and remove stress in specific muscle groups in the body.
Those who are damaged emotionally and physically due to trauma are recommended to take Pilates. Pilates is focused more on stability and strength. By performing specific Pilates techniques, you can regain a sense of balance in your life.
Both Pilates and yoga are good for pregnancy. However, the focus of a pregnant woman should be to maintain fitness, not to improve it. Pregnant women who wish to perform either Pilates or yoga should make sure they don’t overstretch.
Are you hypermobile? Meaning you have loose joints and they can stretch further than they should. If yes, it’s best to try Pilates first, then slowly introduce yourself to yoga.
In the end, it’s really about your personal preference. Pilates or yoga, both can help you shape up and achieve mental harmony. They use breathing techniques and do not require intense movements. And without any drop of doubt, both can improve your quality of life.
It doesn’t hurt to consult a physician or talk to a Yoga or Pilates instructor. They can help you determine what exercise is best for you that fits your goal.