What is the difference between Yoga and Pilates?

What is the difference between Yoga and Pilates?

Yoga and Pilates are equally well-known and popular. There is definitely overlap in both the exercises and the effects. Still, there are some fundamental differences between yoga and Pilates. In this article you will find out what these are and how you can find out what is best for you and your goals.

Yoga vs. Pilates: Differences in Philosophy

Probably the biggest difference between Pilates and yoga lies in their philosophy and origin. Yoga is an Indian teaching that is well over 1,000 years old and focuses on the unity of body, mind and soul. Pilates is a relatively young full-body workout with a clear focus on the physical aspects.

What is the philosophy and origin behind yoga?

Yoga is much more than doing physical exercises. Movements and physical exercises, the asanas, are part of a holistic teaching. Meditation and certain breathing techniques play an equally important role. The unity of body, mind and soul is to be achieved through the combination of asanas, breathing and meditation.

There are a large number of different types of yoga with different focuses. In the western world, body-hugging yoga styles such as Hatha Yoga most common.

What is the philosophy and origin behind Pilates?

In contrast to yoga, Pilates is a fairly young discipline: developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates at the beginning of the 20th century, it was first used in the USA and in the 1960s then more and more well-known and popular with us.

Pilates is primarily a sport, so the focus is on the physical aspect. Pilates is a strengthening program for the whole body, which particularly addresses the deep muscles. The Pilates exercises focus on the core of the body, the so-called powerhouse, i.e. the abdominal muscles, the pelvic floor and the lower back.

Pilates and yoga: difference in breathing

Breathing is a central element in both yoga and Pilates. However, the manner and meaning differ.

Breathing or breathing techniques - called pranayama - are not a means to an end in yoga, but an elementary part of yoga practice. Breathing guides movement and there are a variety of breathing exercises. When doing yoga, you breathe with abdominal breathing, i.e. through your nose deep into your abdomen and also out through your nose.

In Pilates, breathing has no spiritual background, but serves to support the correct execution of the movements. Diaphragm breathing or chest breathing is used in Pilates: the air is breathed through the nose deep into the chest and out through the mouth.

Pilates and yoga: Differences in form

The Asanas in yoga basically alternate between contraction and relaxation, and there is still time one usually stays in one stance for a while. In addition to comfortable yoga clothing and a yoga mat you don't need any other tools. Optionally, a yoga block or a meditation cushion can be used.

Yoga has many positive effects on both body and mind: Muscle building through yoga is particularly noticeable in the back and torso , Yoga trains your balance and improves mobility. On a mental level, yoga provides relaxation, improved self-awareness and accompanies you on the path to self-knowledge.

Pilates is about a concentrated and controlled execution of the exercises, fluently and with many repetitions. A mat is an advantage for a comfortable surface, but other aids such as rings, cables or balls are often used.

The training methods are primarily aimed at the powerhouse - the core of the body - and strengthening the deep muscles. This not only strengthens your body, but also improves your posture, which prevents or alleviates complaints such as back pain.

Yogilates: The Best of Both?

Not only if you can't decide: Many yoga and fitness studios now offer courses in Yogilates - sometimes also called Piloga. The most important elements from both disciplines are combined - the strengthening exercises of Pilates with the relaxation techniques of yoga.

Many gyms offer Yogilates classes

What suits me - Yoga or Pilates?

The best tip is: try both!

If your primary goal is to train your body, Pilates is your choice. If you want to focus equally on body and mind, yoga is more suitable. By the way, here we have the best Yoga exercises for beginners compiled for you. There is also nothing wrong with practicing yoga and Pilates on a whim and reaping the full benefits of both. So you don't have to choose one of the two.