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Pilates vs Yoga - Which Is Right for You

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Pilates will often make people think of yoga. It makes a lot of sense, as they’re not completely dissimilar, and there’s even a practice called Yogalates that combines elements of the two. Yoga and Pilates aren’t the same thing, though, and understanding the differences between them can help you choose which one is right for you and how each of them can benefit you in different ways. Taking a close look at Pilates vs yoga should help you work out whether you want to try one or the other - or maybe both! Here’s our brief explanation of yoga and Pilates and what aspects of your fitness they can help with.

What Is Yoga?

To examine Pilates vs yoga, you first need to know what they are. Many people have tried a short yoga session or two, sometimes at school or perhaps even at work. Yoga is an ancient practice that uses a range of postures or poses to improve strength and flexibility. Connecting your body to your breathing is an important part of yoga, and there’s a strong connection to spirituality too. Yoga needn’t be particularly spiritual if you don’t want it to be, though. You can simply focus on stretching, breathing, and mindfulness. There are various forms of yoga, including Hatha, Ashtanga, Bikram, and more. You can take up yoga at any age, and many people do.

What Is Pilates?

Pilates can sometimes look a bit like yoga. But unlike yoga, which has existed for thousands of years, Pilates was developed in the 20th century by a man named Joseph Pilates. He came up with Pilates as an exercise system designed to strengthen the mind and body. Mr Pilates came up with a range of controlled movements and also a variety of equipment (or apparatus), including the Reformer. Like yoga, there are several ways to practice Pilates, most of which are based on Joseph Pilates’ nine principles of breathing, concentration, control, centering, flow, postural alignment, precision, relaxation, and stamina. While yoga uses static poses, Pilates is more about flowing movements.

What Is Yoga Good For?

To take a close look at Pilates vs yoga, you also need to know how each of them can help you maintain your fitness. Yoga is a good choice if you’re hoping to increase your flexibility and your range of movement, as well as balance and strength. It’s often recommended to older people who might want to improve their balance and strength to reduce the risk of falls. Yoga offers some more strenuous options too, such as hot yoga (including Bikram), which takes place in a heated, humid room. Yoga is also a great way to destress.

What Is Pilates Good For?

Pilates is excellent for targeting every area of your body. It has a particular focus on improving core strength, so it’s ideal if you want to feel stronger and healthier, and perhaps work towards your dream abs too. Pilates is also a good choice for all ages and abilities, and you don’t need any special skills to get started. Different levels of intensity are on offer, with some classes featuring equipment like the Reformer and others being less focused on using apparatus. Pilates can improve your overall fitness and wellbeing and some people even use it to lose weight or to relieve back pain.

Both yoga and Pilates can help you improve your strength and fitness, as well as your overall health. If you want to focus on strength and get a range of other benefits for your body and mind, Pilates could be the right choice for you.