Both Pilates and yoga offer stress-relief, flexibility, strength, control, and endurance. The biggest difference between the two is the emphasis on the spiritual component in classes. Here are the possible benefits you may experience with a regular practice.
Benefits of Yoga
Yoga focuses on flexibility and broad muscle groups. It offers balance, endurance, strength, spirituality, and some really physical movement. Practitioners develop more positive thought patterns and a feeling of greater space in the body. Through the regular practice of yoga postures, core strengthening exercises, breathing techniques, and deep relaxation you can:
- increase core strength and flexibility
- unlock energy blocks
- detoxify muscles through deep stretching
- tone internal organs
- obtain greater awareness of body and mind
- reduce stress and tension
- prevent and reverse degenerative diseases and injuries
- improve breath control to better nourish the body and mind
- quiet the mind and learn to prepare the body for meditation
Benefits of Pilates
On the other hand, Pilates classes focus on strength, muscle toning, body control, and flexibility, with the main emphasis being core strength. A Pilates workout will typically have less stretching exercises. There is a greater focus on exercises that tone surface muscles and strengthen deep muscles next to the spine. The muscles in the abdomen and pelvic floor such as the transverse abdominus are also strengthened. Through the regular practice of Pilates, you can expect to achieve the following benefits:
- strengthen your core and important postural muscles
- develop a leaner body
- improve overall health, particularly lung capacity, coordination and circulation
- create a balance between strength and flexibility
The main focus of Pilates is to strengthen what Joseph Pilates referred to as “the Girdle of Strength” or powerhouse muscles where your abdominals, lower back, pelvic floor and buttocks meet. These are the muscles that support the spine and hold the upper and lower parts of the body together.
Yoga or Pilates?
The question remains—should you practice yoga or Pilates? Why choose a practice when you can have the benefit of both?
Consider your fitness priorities and level, and build your practice from there. If you’re in great shape and want to burn extra calories and work on endurance, a Hatha, Vinyasa, or Anusara yoga class would be ideal. If you’re a runner and need to fine-tune your core strength, then Pilates may be the best choice. The main thing is that you want to pick a practice that you enjoy and that you can do on a regular basis.