Often times, the words Pilates and yoga are used interchangeably and many of you may already be familiar with classes that blend the two like Piloga and Yogalates. Pilates increases performance in other physical activities, such as yoga, however, we discourage combining the two exercises in one single session. While there are similarities between Pilates and yoga, each has a very different purpose, movement and benefit and should always be practiced separated.
Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates to rehabilitate injured German citizens and soldiers during World War I. The purpose of Pilates is to physically condition and teach your body how to engage your core muscles that keep your body in perfect balance.
According to Wikipedia, Yoga originated in India and the purpose of practicing Yoga is to participate in a philosophical and spiritual experience. Yoga offers a holistic approach toward a lifestyle that values the mind, body and spirit through poses and breathing.
Pilates movements are core focused and can be performed on a mat or on equipment such as the Reformer. The classical Pilates method strictly follows the six Pilates principles based on the foundation that Joseph Pilates created; Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath and Flow. The Pilates breath is coordinated with the exercises and focuses on inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
Yoga classes have more variation, from slow movements and poses to very fast moving series, but are always performed on a mat. Depending on the type of yoga class, the sequence of poses can be changed and altered. Yoga incorporates meditation along with exercise and emphasizes breathing through the nose to focus the mind.
Pilates strengthens the core muscles and perfectly aligns the body to improve posture, strength, and flexibility. Pilates is common in injury prevention and recovery programs, especially with those experiencing back pain, because of the option to utilize machines and/or mat work.
In addition to flexibility and improved range of motion in joints, Yoga improves mental well being and relieves stress. Like Pilates, Yoga poses build muscle strength and improve posture.
What aspects of Yoga appeal to you? What about Pilates? Do you find that there are more similarities than differences between the two practices?