Yoga and Pilates are often confused and that’s because, on the surface, they look very similar. Both take place on a mat, both require very little equipment and both involve breath work. Yoga and Pilates are well suited to those seeking a low-impact form of exercise, but what exactly is the difference and which is the best option for you? We delve into the key differences between the two.
One of the major differences between yoga and Pilates can be found when looking into the history of the two. Yoga is the older of the two and can be traced back 5000 years to South East Asia while Pilates is more modern emerging onto the scene in the 1990s in Germany. Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates as a solution to his many ailments while yoga is a spiritual practise with an emphasis on meditation that can be separated into various types including Hatha Yoga, Bikram Yoga and Ashtanga to name a few.
Breathing is a focal point in both yoga and Pilates classes and is integral when squeezing out the mental and physical benefits from your session. But how do the breathing techniques differ? In a Pilates class you will inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth while in yoga you will take an in breath through your nose and exhale through your nose. Breathing in a yoga class can be meditative and you will breathe into the belly while in Pilates you will breathe into the sides of the diaphragm.
One of the reasons people are drawn to yoga and Pilates is that they can both be practised anywhere with no need for fancy or expensive equipment. That being said, you can add complexity to your workout and make the movements more advanced by adding arm weights, leg weights or exercise bands. Both yoga and Pilates can be done using only a mat but Pilates lovers can also take advantage of Pilates reformers, a bed-like apparatus that can be used to help you achieve your particular fitness goals. You can use a reformer in a class or you can rent one for your home.
When you practise yoga or Pilates, both types of activity involve adopting postures but with yoga, the focus is on flowing from one posture to the next while Pilates focuses on challenging your core by carrying out different movements while holding a posture.
As we know, both types of exercise offer a plethora of health benefits, many of which overlap but which is best for you? It comes down to a personal preference. Pilates is core focussed and sessions are made up of movements that are designed to strengthen the core as well as the body as a whole while yoga concentrates on increasing the flexibility of the muscles and takes a mind, body and soul approach to fitness. Both yoga and Pilates will help you to improve your posture, core strength and muscle tone but yoga has the added mental health benefits that come with prioritising mindfulness.
Fortunately our whole Blossom Yoga Wear collection is perfect for both yoga and Pilates, and any other activity you choose to keep fit.