Yoga And Pilates Mat

Yoga vs Pilates – Which Is Better

It’s one of the most debated topics among its followers, and one that seemingly has no right or wrong answer. Which is better for you, yoga or pilates? Although each of these activities might seem similar, there are many variations that make them quite different.

Yoga vs Pilates Illustration

The age old yoga vs pilates debate has been occurring for many years, and most people will proudly declare that they are a fan of one over the other. But before we can answer which is better, yoga or pilates, we need to first look at what makes each of them unique.

If you’re trying to determine the difference between yoga and pilates so you know which one you can pursue, you should consider all of the facts first. Many people have misguided judgments about both of them, so it all comes down to individual preference.

What Is Yoga

The origin of yoga dates back around 5,000 years in Northern India and since its initial invention has been part of a huge variety of schools, systems, and beliefs. There are hundreds of variations of yoga and a countless number of poses and stretches.

Woman Doing Yoga Missionary Pose

Yoga places a large focus on breath or Pranayama, and this is the foundation of yoga practice. Each move is done to coincide with a breath and there is a range of techniques and sequences to follow during a typical session.

Depending on the style of yoga you practice, the moves are often performed slower and held for longer than pilates, and often with less resistance. These moves are intended to calm the body and mind, and bring them all together in unity.

So, what is yoga good for exactly? The spirituality aspect of yoga makes it stand apart from pilates, as there is a huge focus on not just improving and calming your body but your mind as well. The popularity of yoga, thanks to its many different styles and variations, makes it the most practiced exercise system in the world.

What Is Pilates

The origins of pilates don’t date back nearly as far as yoga, with athlete Joseph Pilates inventing the exercise system in the mid-20th century. Pilates was originally intended to help with rehabilitation and strengthening of the entire body and has progressed gradually to the form we know today.

Couple Exercising Pilates

While pilates does work on an understanding that body and mind are connected, it doesn’t have the deep spiritual roots that yoga does which may appeal to some people. Depending on how important this aspect is to you, you may find this sways you toward one style more than the other.

Pilates generally burns more calories in a session than yoga depending on the style of yoga practiced, due to the fact that it’s a more strenuous and rigorous workout. Pilates workouts place a huge focus on the core and keeping this tightened as you perform the various moves, allowing you to lengthen and tone your muscles.

A typical pilates class will usually follow a strict routine compared to yoga, which often has variations available. Some pilates class will use different equipment such as full body machines or resistance items, depending on the type of pilates you practice.

Benefits of Yoga And Pilates

Although they may seem slightly different, the benefits you can get from either yoga or Pilates are quite similar. Whether you want to perform both exercise systems and give yourself some variety or prefer to stick to just the one, here are some of the great advantages they can have.

Couple Doing Yoga in Gym
  • Weight Loss - When combined with a balanced diet, performing just a few sessions of either yoga or pilates each week can have a dramatic effect on weight loss. Couple these exercises with some cardio for an added weight loss advantage.
  • Improved Flexibility - As most of the moves in yoga and pilates require you to lengthen your body, it’s a fun and healthy way to improve your own flexibility for everyday use. As you get more skilled at yoga and pilates, you’ll find the moves far easier to achieve.
  • Core Strength - Pilates especially can have wonderful effects on your core strength, which is essential for everyday activities and not just exercise. With good core strength, you’re less likely to suffer from back pain as well.
  • Improved Mental Health - Regular exercise is already known to perform miracles for your mental health, and particularly so with yoga and pilates. As both of these systems focus on body and mind alignment, you can achieve an even greater improvement in your mental health when you perform them.
  • Free to Practice - Once you have your moves sorted, you can practice yoga or pilates virtually anywhere you want and free of charge. Yoga and pilates equipment are lightweight and portable so you have the freedom to perform it anywhere.

The Verdict

With such amazing benefits to be had with both exercise systems, it doesn’t seem the yoga vs pilates debate will be settled anytime soon. The best way to know which one is right for you is to give each of them a try and see which one suits your style.

Three Women Laughing at Pilates

Regardless of which system you choose, there’s no denying how much both your body and mind can benefit from regular exercise. When you find a physical activity that you truly enjoy doing, such as yoga or pilates, it’s so much easier to have a healthier outlook on like.

Whether you prefer yoga or pilates, it’s obvious that both of these exercise systems only continue to grow in popularity. As both offer a low impact but effective way to lengthen and tone your body, whilst also calming your mind, the benefits over traditional forms of high-intensity exercise certainly seem to outweigh the rest.

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