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Yoga Vs Pilates – Which Is For You?

While yoga and Pilates appear very similar, anyone who’s taken both classes knows there is a difference. Here we explain the difference (and similarities) between the two practices with the hope of giving you a better understanding of of each practice, which should help you decide which you’d like to practice.

Brief Description

Pilates is a physical fitness system that was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. It focuses on the core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and are essential to providing support for the spine

Yoga is an ancient practice from northern India, known as path to both physical, as well as mental well being. It includes everything from physical posture and healthy diet to breathing, relaxation and meditation skills.

Approach

Pilates has a mind and body approach to exercise.
Yoga has a mind and body approach to exercise with a focus on mental health.

Areas of focus

Pilates focuses on mental concentration, neutral spine, breathing and precise movement.
Yoga focuses combining movement called asana, with breath to make a moving meditation.

What is it?

Pilates is a system of effective but gentle, whole-body conditioning and corrective exercises.
Yoga is a full mind and body system than helps beyond your class into improvements in your lifestyle.

Physical areas of focus

Pilates concentrates on building core strength in the body and lengthening the spine
It is about moving in ways that help strengthen your powerhouse, including your stabilizing muscles.
Yoga is considered therapeutic and aims at uniting the body with your mind and spirit which helps people find harmony and release stress. It Involves static poses, which are held while exploring your breathing, physical feelings and emotions.

Emphasis on

Pilates emphasises correct movement, keeping a neutral spine therefore giving better toning than flexibility but it enhances both.
Yoga emphasises movement with breath gaining flexibility over building strength, although it enhances both.

BreathYogaBreathing & Concentration

Pilates instructs an individual to inhale through the nose and exhale through mouth.
Yoga practitioners are taught to inhale and exhale through the nose only, except in specialist breathing exercises.

Mental wellbeing

Pilates is considered a mind-body exercise and so requires concentration, which can distract you from daily worries, but wellbeing isn’t such a focus as it is in yoga.
Spiritual wellbeing is integral to yoga. The physical practice gives the body a feeling of balance and wellbeing, while breathing techniques enhance inner focus and relaxation.

Practice

Pilates benefits from regular practice which helps build a longer, leaner physique with a qualified instructor. 
Yoga has numerous different styles which are generally practised in a group setting on a yoga mat with the aid of a yoga instructor.

What to choose?

You should do Pilates if you want an exercise that improves flexibility while toning muscles.
Yoga is more suitable if you are looking to improve flexibility and are also searching for something that helps reduce stress and gives you an opportunity for some quiet time.

You’re now ready to take the next step. We have a 4 week beginners yoga course starting Monday 23rd May 2016 and a Foundation Pilates course starting Wednesday 25th May 2016. Can’t wait to see you there!

About the author: Lisa Wilkinson

Lisa Wilkinson

Lisa opened The elbowroom in February 2003. Mother to Tuilelaith and Sean, director of The elbowroom and with a crew of over 60 staff, she is a busy bee. Lisa leads a team committed to bringing health and vitality to all of her clients. Lisa currently teaches in our yoga training programs and oversees pregnancy yoga and mum & baby yoga. Lisa works hard developing healthy food choices for Yin & Tonic @ The elbowroom. She specialises paediatric and pregnancy with workshops, yoga therapy, and craniosacral therapy.

The elbowroom has an extensive range of classes for all ages and abilities. We offer such an eclectic mix to enable you to find something that will suit you. If you need any advice, please contact our class advisor who can point you in the right direction.