Yoga vs pilates: which is the one for you?

A simple guide on the differences between the two practices

In the last couple of years, yoga and pilates have gained huge popularity among people of all ages, thanks to their inclusive nature and easiness of practice- you literally just need a mat, your body, and an efficient activewear set, and you’re good to go.

Both are loved, on-trend, and great for body and mind. But what are the key differences between Yoga and Pilates, and how can you choose the right one for you?

Yoga and Pilates Similarities

Yoga and Pilates are both low-impact, low-intensity, and very inclusive types of exercises. Pretty much everyone can have a go at them, and their low-impact character makes them safe and enjoyable for all types of human bodies.

They offer numerous health benefits too: they help with flexibility, strength, and balance, and they also enhance that sought-after body and mind connection, helping with anxiety and stress relief. They both also have a strong focus on the breath, which guides the body and calms the mind.

Finally, to practice them both, you just need to slip into a comfortable pair of leggings and a sports bra. Cool and performative at the same time, just like the ones from Heart and Soul, crafted responsibility from recycled and organic materials.

Yoga and Pilates Differences

One of the main differences between yoga and pilates is their origins, which determine the essence of the practices too.

  • Yoga is a holistic discipline that originated more than 5,000 years ago in ancient India. It’s first and foremost a spiritual philosophy, and it incorporates principles from science and Buddhism. In yoga breath, movement, and meditation are one unique thing, working together to connect mind, body, and soul.
  • Pilates is much more recent, being developed by German anatomist Joseph Pilates in 1920. It was initially born as a rehabilitation practice for World War I wounded soldiers, and then refined and brought to the US in 1923. It has roots in healing and rehabilitation, but it is conceived as a physical system made of different exercises to improve strength, posture, balance, and flexibility.

Another key difference between yoga and pilates is the movement of the body during the practice.

  • In Yoga you tend to hold positions for a certain amount of time, or to flow from one position to another.
  • In Pilates, you enter a position and then build up the work from there, challenging the body through various movements of arms and legs.

While both practices work the body from head to toe, there are a few differences in the results and benefits they can have.

  • In Pilates, the main focus is definitely on the core and pelvic floor- stabilizing these two is essential to start any exercise. As a result, Pilates is great to build muscle strength and body stability through the spinal column, as well as improving posture, aligning the body, and moving it in the most efficient way.
  • When it comes to Yoga, there are many different styles with different intensities, but in general the practice helps with building strength in the whole body, improving flexibility and balance. The work on the breath also allows bringing awareness to the body, while enhancing positive thinking and calm.

As the last takeaway: yoga uses the body to connect with the inner self, while pilates uses the mind to connect to the inner workings of the body.