Pilates Vs Yoga: Differences and which is better

Pilates Vs Yoga: Differences and which is better

 1. What is Yoga

Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India. First codified by the sage Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras around 400 C.E, the practice was in fact handed down from teacher to student long before this text arose. Traditionally, this was a one-to-one transmission, but since yoga became popular in the West in the 20th century, group classes have become the norm.

The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning “to yoke,” or “to unite”. The practice aims to create union between body, mind and spirit, as well as between the individual self and universal consciousness. Such a union tends to neutralize ego-driven thoughts and behaviours, creating a sense of spiritual awakening.

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, and whilst many different interpretations and styles have been developed, most tend to agree that the ultimate goal of yoga is to achieve liberation from suffering. Although each school or tradition of yoga has its own emphasis and practices, most focus on bringing together body, mind and breath as a means of altering energy or shifting consciousness.

2. What is Pilates 

Pilates is a method of exercise that has been used by elite athletes and dancers for decades. But Pilates’s popularity has exploded in recent years, thanks to celebrity endorsements from the likes of Kate Hudson and Jennifer Anniston.

For those of you who don’t know about Pilates – hello, where have you been? –  this article will answer that all important question: “what is Pilates?”, give you a brief breakdown of its history, and let you in on the main benefits of the method.

Pilates is famous for toning abs and strengthening the “core” – or the “powerhouse” as Joseph Pilates called it. But the Pilates method is so much more than this.

Pilates uses slow, controlled and precise movements to strengthen the deep stabilising muscles found in the neck and shoulder, the spine and the pelvis. This is important because these deep muscles stabilise and support your spine. When they switch off, pain in the lower back or around the pelvis is often the result. Of course, Pilates does tone the body and can help you get that much sought-after flat stomach. But it also, much more importantly, helps your body to function better and will leave it less prone to injury.

3. Equipments needed

Essential Yoga equipment:

1. Yoga Mats

2. Straps

3. Blankets

4. Blocks

5. Bolsters

6. Chairs

7. Meditation cushions

8. Eye pillows (tissues or washable cloth to cover them)

9. Mat cleaning wipes

10. Tissue papers

Types of Pilates Equipment
1Pilates Mat. Pilates mats are often confused with Yoga mats, however, there are some differences to be aware of
2. Magic Circle or Pilates Ring
3. Pilates Band or Resistance Bands
4. Pilates Reformer
5. Cadillac or Trapeze Table
6. Pilates Chair
7. Ladder Barrel or Barrel
8. Foam Roller

4. which one is better?

Whether you select yoga or Pilates is mostly determined by your objectives. Pilates focuses on core strength and stability, so if you have back problems from sitting at a desk all day or if you participate in sports at any level, you will benefit from this workout. If you primarily want to improve your flexibility and relaxation, yoga is a better choice.

The similarities:

  1. Both yoga and mat Pilates can be done with little equipment.
  2. Both focus on using the breath properly during exercise
  3. Both yoga and Pilates require mental focus and can help reduce stress

In this blog we’ll be focussing on two main areas of comparison between yoga and Pilates: strength & flexibility and mental health.

a. Strength & flexibility

Yoga focuses on flexibility, whereas Pilates emphasises core strength. They're both excellent for toning and strengthening all of your body's muscle groups, and choosing Pilates doesn't mean you'll lose flexibility.

When it comes to flexibility, though, most people think of yoga, and this is a well-deserved reputation. When compared to yoga, Pilates takes a unique approach. Rather of stretching to enhance flexibility, it focuses on the cause of muscular tightness and attempts to resolve the issue.

Yoga has been found to develop flexibility and strength, but Pilates is more effective in strengthening the abdominal muscles and tightening the hard-to-tighten obliques. Overall flexibility, particularly in the back, hips, and hamstrings, should increase. If you had to choose between the two, Pilates is arguably a superior all-around exercise than yoga.

b. Mental health

Studies on a variety of yoga practises suggest that they can help with anxiety and depression by reducing the impact of increased stress responses. Yoga can be used in conjunction with other relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, exercise, and socialising with friends and family. Yoga has also been shown to improve heart rate variability, which allows the body to respond to stress more quickly.

Yoga is known for focussing on the breath, but breathing is also one of Joseph Pilates’ 8 Principles of Pilates. Any type of exercise can help relieve stress, but Pilates combines movement with breath in a fairly unique way. Every Pilates exercise involves a particular breathing pattern which improves its effectiveness, helping to supply oxygen to the muscles.

By placing an emphasis on the breath, Pilates helps you get to a place where you probably won’t be thinking about the school run or what you need to buy at the supermarket. Pilates directs your focus inward for the duration of the class, forcing you to focus on your body in the present moment, and improving your peace of mind.

Because Pilates is designed to benefit any age group and body type, our reformer pilates classes are open to all. We welcome beginners, Pilates veterans and any one in-between! (We even offer Pilates personal training for one on one pilates tuition.  If you’re interested, please get in touch today, our friendly team will be more than happy to help.


About Me

Erisa Mane

  • Physiotherapist at Physio Life Clinic
  • MSc Marketing, Ulster University, London Campus
  • Lecturer at University of Medicine, Tirana
  • Inspector at Ministry of Health, Albania

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