It’s time to answer the age old question.
Yoga and Pilates. Each comes from very different cultural backgrounds, at very different times in history. While Pilates was developed by German-born Joseph Pilates and popularised in the 1920s when he arrived in America, Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years, with it’s origins entrenched in Indian culture.
Despite these diverse origins, it can be difficult for the everyday person to fully understand the differences. So what are the core differences between Yoga and Pilates?
When we look into the fundamentals of Pilates, the focus is predominately on core strength and stability. Pilates is a fantastic method for athletes and people with injuries looking for strength and rehabilitation. In contrast to this, Yoga tends to put more emphasis on flexibility, relaxation, “the breath” and connections with the mind.
As far as how each set of activities make your body feel, both methods help with alignment, balance and strength. When we look at the workout experience for each, Pilates includes some exercises performed on a mat, but with a great many performed on specialist machines. This is because Pilates machines have been specially developed to work with your body to maximise the stretch and tension of the muscles during an exercise. At Dynamic Pilates, we prefer BASI Systems as our machines of choice – so much so that we now offer them to other studios and the general public across Australia! For Yoga, you will predominantly find yourself performing exercises on a mat either sitting or standing – as the focus is instead on relaxation and mind-body connection during stretch exercise.
For those of you looking to tone your body and build firm muscles, Pilates will be the better fit. The focus on core strength as opposed to Yoga’s focus on flexibility only will best help you achieve this personal goal.
If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, or are already enjoying the wonders of pregnancy, you may also want to know whether or not one method is better during pregnancy than the other. The truth is, both have just as many benefits for mums-to-be as the other. Yoga and Pilates can both help to get your body in the best shape for giving birth, relieving back and pelvic pain and relaxing you during your pregnancy journey.
Once you’ve gained some knowledge on the core differences, you can develop a better idea of which will work for you to align with any specific goals you may have. But don’t jump the gun! The trick is not to dive straight in without any personal experience – it is always to your benefit to try each method at least once before making your final decision.
If you are looking to use Yoga or Pilates specifically for injury recovery or rehabilitation, it is best to consult a health professional on this matter before booking your first session.