In today’s world, more focus is being put on exercises that are good for both the body and mind and provides gentle stretching used to strengthen the core and improve overall tone. When we think of these types of exercises, yoga and Pilates are two that come to mind. Although these workouts are similar, they are not the same.

Read on to find out more about these exercise forms, their similarities and their differences.

What is Yoga?

Difference Between Yoga and Pilates
Photographer: Erik Brolin | Source: Unsplash

Yoga is meant to unite the mind, body and spirit. The concept is to see the mind and body as one structure with techniques being used to heal the body and create mental harmony. Because of this, yoga is considered therapeutic in nature meant to reduce stress and increase flexibility.

The movements performed in yoga are done on an exercise mat and the body is used as resistance. Each movement requires flow and focus and they are not necessarily designed for the benefit of toning or losing weight. Rather, they have different needs and purposes.

What is Pilates?

Difference Between Pilates and Yoga
Pilates Mat Class at Konnect Pilates Mission Viejo Orange County

The major difference between yoga and Pilates is that, while both require mat work, there are also other machines that can be used in Pilates. And while Pilates focuses on both body and mind, one of its main goals is to strengthen the core to increase range of motion and make your body stronger inside and out.

Pilates is meant to promote a balance of flexibility and strength in the body.

Yoga or Pilates: Which is Right for Me?

Now that you know the difference between yoga and Pilates, you may be wondering which is best suited for you. If you are trying to make a decision regarding which you want to incorporate into your life, here are a few things to consider:

Mental Health: Any type of exercise can minimize stress. However, the breathing used in yoga is meant to help you achieve relaxation. Therefore, yoga may be best for you if you are looking for a way to reduce anxiety and depression.

Be sure to learn how to breathe properly and concentrate on the way you are breathing. Sending breath to areas that are holding stress can help you relax specific muscle groups in your body.

It should be noted that breathing is also important in Pilates. Concentrating on breathing while doing Pilates will help you manage the quantities of oxygen coming into your body, so you become more relaxed.

Fitness: Both yoga and Pilates can help tone your abdominal muscles, but Pilates is especially effective when it comes to working your core. If you are looking to reduce belly fat in particular, Pilates will be the fastest way to do so when comparing the two exercise forms.

Rehabilitation: Exercise can be a great form of physical therapy if you are recovering from an injury. Pilates can be especially effective to this end as it includes gentle stretching that provides the healing you need. It also strengthens back muscles to support weaker parts of the body.

Yoga can be effective in rehabilitation, but it is best to proceed with caution. Certain yoga poses can make existing problems worse. If you have any pain or injury, it is best to consult a yoga teacher before proceeding with a class to make sure you are not performing any movements that could be detrimental.

Strengthening Joints: Your joints are a part of your body that is very prone to injury and degeneration. This can be especially concerning as we get older.

If you are looking to strengthen your joints, both yoga and Pilates can be effective, but Yoga is the recommended as the workout of choice. Pilates focuses on relaxing and strengthening muscles, but Yoga will gradually increase the flexibility of your body and your joints.

Losing Weight: Although you may lose some weight doing yoga and Pilates, the amount of weight you lose may not be considerable. When comparing the two exercises, there is not much of a difference in how much weight you will lose. However, it may be easier to incorporate cardio into a Pilates workout to increase weight loss.

Although we can’t tell you which form of exercise will be best for you, if you think Pilates will benefit you most, we can give you tips for how to get started.

The first step you should take is finding a studio you are comfortable with. If you are in the Orange County area, Konnect Pilates is highly recommended.

Konnect Pilates is run by Balanced Body certified instructors that can help you attain the level of fitness you are looking to achieve. Their studio is clean and offers a warm, relaxing atmosphere. They provide a variety of classes including Pilates mat classes and group reformer classes making it easy to find one to suit your needs.

And if you are looking to take your Pilates fitness to a professional level, Konnect also offers Pilates teacher training. You can learn from the best to get a Pilates certification that will ensure your teaching skills are second to none.

Pilates and yoga are both workouts that target the body and mind. Think of your needs to decide which is right for you. Then look forward to an improved level of wellness that can improve your quality of life.