What is the Difference Between Pilates and Yoga

by RobertKeith

Yoga- and Pilates-training techniques are two of the most popular exercise disciplines in the United States, according to recent research.

Static aggregator statista.com says the number of participants using Pilates-training techniques in the U.S. amounted to almost nine million people in 2016. Likewise, a 2016 study conducted by the Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance indicated the number of yoga participants in the U.S. had increased to over 35 million, up from roughly 20 million in 2012.

What’s the Difference?

The Pilates-exercise discipline focus on flexibility, body control, strength training and muscle toning with the main emphasis being placed on the development of core strength. Yoga, on the other hand, focuses on improved flexibility of broad muscle groups, balance and endurance while adding a spiritual component. 

The six Pilates-principle basics are breath, centering, concentration, control, flow and precision. The Pilates-training technique involves resistance-training methods that use the body’s own weight, weight-training devices and machines. A specialized machine, commonly called and “apparatus,” is named after Joseph Pilates, the man who designed and invented both the machine and the exercise discipline. The Pilates-apparatus design resembles the Total Gym exercise machine seen promoted so often on TV infomercials. 

Pilates and Yoga
Pilates and Yoga

Yoga originated in India roughly 5,000 years ago as an all-inclusive system for the promotion of wellbeing. Yoga was originally a system of techniques designed to offer guidance for enriched living. Today, most yoga participants use a program of physical postures that are designed to supply the physical strength and stamina required for extended periods of meditation. Yoga in the Western world has also adopted the practice of using equipment, such as blocks, straps and pillows. 

Here are some things to consider when trying to decide which exercise discipline might be right for you: 
• The exercise discipline you choose should depend on the results that you want to achieve. 
• Exercise is known to be helpful for people suffering from emotional issues, such as depression or anxiety. Yoga may be seen as better alternative to combat these issues as it focuses on both the mind and the body. Yoga-breathing exercises help to achieve relaxation, and breathing is continuously monitored throughout the yoga routine. 
• Both the Yoga- and Pilates-exercise disciplines use movements that are effective at toning the core, or abdominal, muscles. However, the later is much more physically demanding, so core-strengthening results will typically be achieved faster than with yoga. 
• For back-pain sufferers, both disciplines can provide amazing results, increasing the strength and flexibility of the back muscles and joints. However, care must be taken as certain yoga poses can actually exacerbate back problems. 
• The yoga discipline is believed to be the better choice for improving flexibility of the muscles and joints, whereas the Pilates-exercise discipline focuses mainly on strengthen the muscles. 
• There is not much of a difference in how much weight you will lose between the two exercise disciplines, as both typically burn approximately the same amount of calories during exercise. However, the Pilates-exercise discipline tends to build more muscle and increased muscle mass helps the body burn more calories, even at rest. 

To Choose or Not to Choose

Everyone should consider their own fitness level and priorities and build an exercise program around their specific needs. If you are already in great shape an advanced yoga class may be the ticket. However, the Pilates-exercise discipline may better suit your needs if you are inclined toward more athletic actives, like running, and want to work on your core strength. 

Because the two exercise disciplines have similarities and differences, you may want to give each a try to help decide which discipline is the best for you, your needs and your lifestyle. If you still can’t decide between the exercise disciplines there is really no practical reason you have to choose between the two. 

People do all different sorts of exercises to stay fit, such running, riding a bike or swimming, and there is no practical reason why you cannot take advantage of the benefits of both disciplines. The main thing to bear in mind is that you need to choose an exercise routine that you will enjoy, that you will be able to do regularly and that will help you achieve your fitness goals.

Updated: 05/22/2018, RobertKeith
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