Yoga and Pilates are both low-impact activities that rely on the body’s own weight as resistance. There are various advantages. Both exercises can benefit your general health and improve your quality of life. These exercises, like all others, necessitate proper form. Adjustments must be made for persons with physical limitations. However, the main question we often hear is which form is better: Pilates vs. Yoga. But before directly getting into the answer, firstly understand their form, benefits, and purpose to do a better comparison. So, let’s get into it.
What is Pilates?
Pilates promotes strength, stability, and flexibility through a series of exercises performed on a mat or with other pieces of equipment. Pilate’s workouts strengthen the body by utilizing muscular effort from the core. This approach promotes body awareness to assist efficient and graceful everyday activities.
Pilates is built on the foundation of core strength. Stability is developed throughout the torso by strengthening the core. This is one of the ways Pilates aids in relieving back pain in most people. It is an especially recommended approach for athletes or dancers to increase their core strength and balance. However, people that have anxiety or don’t have enough muscle strength are also encouraged to try this.
Benefits of Pilates
Following are some of the benefits of Pilates:
- Pilates is renowned for emphasizing the importance of the core, which is the body’s center and the source of all movement. The core comprises all muscles surrounding the trunk; therefore, a strong and flexible core supports and stabilizes the body.
- Back pain reduction can also be made possible through Pilates. When the core works, it strengthens your back muscles, thus removing the back pain. Moreover, the person can also establish a good body posture.
- Pilates increases your muscles’ power, making you more flexible, stronger, and boosting your body balance. Your muscles don’t get stressed out and perform better even in a tense situation.
- As it is clear that Pilates strengthens your muscles, the chances of getting injured become lesser, and your overall body stays in a better condition.
- Pilates is a must for women who are going through menstrual cycles. It can help reduce the pain and keep you active during that time.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a centuries-old discipline claimed to have originated in India. It incorporates exercise, meditation, and breathing methods to enhance mental and physical well-being. Yoga can help you build endurance, strength, tranquility, flexibility, and overall well-being.
Different Types of Yoga
Yoga has different types. Following are some of the major and most popular types of yoga practiced throughout the world:
1. Hatha Yoga
This form of yoga aims to develop the mind and strength of a person through its activities. It uses physical training and breathing control to work the person.
2. Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa is a yoga technique that involves combining postures such that you can flow from one to the next while controlling your breathing. Vinyasa Yoga is often referred to as “flow” yoga.
3. Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga is a kind of yoga that is both dynamic and athletic. It is divided into six series, each with a predetermined sequence of positions. Its motive is to make the body movement smooth by combining it with your breathing style.
4. Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar Yoga is a type of yoga that focuses on the structural alignment of the physical body through asana practice. Precision, sequencing, and the use of props like blankets, belts, and blocks set it apart from other yoga techniques.
5. Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti yoga is intended to develop a holy path. This is a constructive approach to channel emotions, cultivate acceptance and tolerance.
6. Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga is performed in a room with a temperature of over 100 degrees and a humidity of 40%. You’ll know exactly what to do after you unroll your mat because all Bikram classes follow the identical 90-minute routine.
7. Power Yoga
Power yoga is a high-intensity form of yoga that emphasizes strength and endurance. It’s also a great way to burn calories while doing yoga.
8. Kundalini Yoga
Chanting, singing, breathing exercises, and repetitious positions are all part of Kundalini yoga. Its goal is to bring your Kundalini energy to life. This is spiritual energy supposed to reside at the base of your spine.
9. Hot Yoga
Hot yoga is strenuous yoga practiced in a hot, humid studio. Long, strong, and sustained contractions of all major muscle groups are required for the postures.
10. Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga is a slow-paced kind of yoga for exercise that incorporates traditional Chinese medical ideas and uses postures held for longer periods than other styles of yoga.
There are also other types of yoga that include karma yoga, yin yoga, etc. They all are geared towards providing calmness to the body and making you mentally relaxed.
Benefits of Yoga
- Yoga provides you with relaxation and calmness. It involves activities like breathing practice to get rid of your stress. This way, it makes your mind relaxed and helps your brain development.
- Yoga also makes you physically fit. Your breath and movement are synchronized, which helps in the smooth movement of muscles.
- It has been scientifically proven that people who perform Yoga tend to be more self-aware and take better care of themselves.
- People with bone problems like arthritis are backed to do yoga because yoga can help you clear pain from swollen joints.
- Yoga is best for people who have heart problems. Breathing practice and movement improve blood flow. Also, yoga decreases inflammation and opens the blood vessels, due to which blood flow is smooth from and towards the heart.
- Also, yoga helps with mood management. If you are in a bad mood, slight yoga can help change it into a cheerful mood.
Similarities in Yoga and Pilates
Following are a few similarities between yoga and Pilates:
- The most obvious one is that both get you moving. If you are a lazy person, yoga and Pilates make you move out of your bed or couch and stretch your muscles to make you active.
- Another big similarity is that you don’t need any dedicated area to perform them like outdoor sports in either of them. You can perform both anywhere long as you have a place where you can stretch yourselves. You can do them in a bedroom, a living room or anywhere you find comfortable.
- Both have the same motive; to make your mind sound and breathe as good as possible. This can help with respiratory problems such as asthma and various others.
- Both forms also focus on making you physically fit. Your mobility and flexibility, along with your physical strength, are boosted in yoga and Pilates. Therefore, they are particularly recommended if you have weaker bones or after you have recovered from an injury.
- Mental sharpness and peace are other big similarities that both yoga and pilates share. They both focus on sharpening your mind. Also, encourage greater overall health. Because of our good health, we always stay ahead and focused. As we know, when we feel better, we perform better in all aspects of our lives. Taking time out for yourself monthly or daily to practice pilates or yoga also helps to relieve stress and keep you centered and energized.
Yoga Vs. Pilates: Major Differences
As much as they seem similar, there are some well-defined differences in Yoga and Pilates. Following are those differences:
- The biggest difference is in the movements and positions of both. Although the exercises are geared for the same purposes, the positions practiced in Yoga are different from those practiced in Pilates and vice versa.
- The equipment used in Pilates is different from that of Yoga. Yoga mainly relies on a mat and other things like balls, blankets, etc. However, in Pilates, some more technical things are required, such as a spine corrector, reformer, and other stuff.
- The main motive of yoga is to provide the brain with comfort and peace and help the person get rid of stress. There is no denying it also focuses on the physical aspect, but mental peace is the main focus. In contrast, Pilates is a physical practice that targets recovery from injuries, makes the person strong from their core, and removes physical pain such as back pains.
- The more unnoticed factor of difference between the two is their different histories. Yoga and Pilates both have very different origins.
Yoga Vs. Pilates: Which is Better?
If both have similar purposes, then is Pilates better or Yoga? This is a common question of the majority. It can’t necessarily be said which is better than the other; instead, it depends on the nature of your goal which approach is better for you.
Pilates may be a better option to improve your strength and flexibility. In contrast, Yoga is a good option to improve your general and mental health. Still, a lot depends on your end plans and your current physical and mental situation.
Although yoga is more beneficial for men, some men believe they are not flexible enough. Men and women respond differently to certain poses, but both men and women can benefit from yoga. Pilates may have a slight dilemma drawing males, but it’s important to know that a man developed pilates and established many of its concepts while Joseph Pilates worked with male troops.
How to Choose Between Yoga or Pilates?
The answer solely depends on what the person is trying to do. Following are some conditions in which you can choose the best for you:
- Pilates exercises can be done using equipment that adds cardio to your poses if you’re attempting to reduce weight. This can assist you in burning more calories.
- Yoga focuses on both the mind and the body, and it is a highly beneficial form of exercise for overcoming sadness or anxiety. Breathing exercises in yoga help you relax because you have to focus on how you use your breath.
- Pilates movements are far more intensive than yoga, and the results can be seen much sooner. A flatter and tighter stomach may be easier to achieve with regular Pilates exercises.
- You should avoid a few yoga poses if you have back problems since they aggravate the problem. When it comes to yoga group fitness courses, the instructor can provide useful suggestions for those suffering from back pain. In contrast, Pilates is an intense form of exercise and puts pressure on the back, but you need to be extra careful with pilates.
- Yoga can improve body and joint flexibility, which is one of the key contrasts between yoga and Pilates. Pilates aims to relax tense muscles while also strengthening them.
Simply put, Yoga is suitable for everyone so that you can go for yoga anytime, and if you have the strength, you can even perform it at ripe old age. Pilates is a little more physical and is geared towards sportspeople recovering from injuries. So, depending on what’s your aim, you can choose one.
Finally, the best method to determine if Pilates or Yoga is better for you is to try both! Try one class of each to determine which one best meets your needs and ability. Instead of so many differences but still, both Pilates and Yoga are great ways to strengthen your muscles, improve your body’s structure, relieve tension, and increase flexibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is better for beginners, yoga or Pilates?
It all depends on the reason you are choosing one. If the person aims to lose weight and can handle cardio, then Pilates is best suited for them. In contrast, if mental development and calmness is your main goal, then Yoga is the best fit.
2. Can I do both Pilates and Yoga?
Yes. There is no such harm in practicing both simultaneously. It has been noted that the people who perform both together have the better physical strength and are bound to be stress-free quicker than those who perform one at a time.
3. Can you do Pilates and Yoga every day?
Doing yoga every day is advisable because it provides your brain with calmness and doesn’t test you physically as much as Pilates. However, it is advised that Pilates should be performed a week thrice at a normal scale, but performing it every day doesn’t have any side effects either.
4. Is 20 minutes a day for Pilates enough?
For most beginners, it is recommended that you do Pilates 20 minutes a day and three times a week. So, yes, 20 minutes in a day is appropriate if you are a beginner. But you can exceed the time once you are used to it.
5. Is Pilates better than Yoga for weight loss?
Yes, Pilates is better than yoga for weight loss because of its more physical nature. Cardio machines involved in Pilates are not a part of yoga. Therefore, you can lose weight quicker with Pilates.
6. Which burns more calories, Pilates or yoga?
Both of them don’t have a mechanism of burning calories like other physical exercises in terms of calories burning. But because Pilates involves some cardio machines, the burning of calories is a bit faster than Yoga.
7. Is Pilates or yoga better for belly fat?
Pilates is better for belly fat because the main purpose of Pilates is to increase core strength. So, when the core works, it burns the belly fat.
8. Is yoga or Pilates better for seniors?
Yoga is recommendable for people from almost every age group, so naturally, yoga is the better option. If the seniors can perform movements, then strengthening their core through Pilates won’t be a bad idea either.
9. Can seniors do Pilates?
If the seniors have the strength to do so, they can perform Pilates. Yoga and Pilates together go hand-in-hand for the seniors to make them fitter and add days to their life.
10. Is Pilates good for over 50?
Staying fit has no age limit. So, it is a very good idea for a person above 50 to perform Pilates to keep them physically and mentally fit.
11. What type of yoga is best for seniors?
The types of yoga that are generally slower-paced are recommended for seniors. These include hatha yoga and restorative yoga. The moves practiced are easier, and you have to maintain poses for longer times than other types of yoga.
12. Is yoga or Pilates better for back pain?
Pilates is the finest exercise to relieve present back pain and prevent future back issues. Pilates positions help to strengthen the muscles that support the spine; thus, this is the case. Pilates versus Yoga is all about body strengthening, and Pilates accomplishes it better when it comes to back pain.
13. Is yoga or Pilates better for the pelvic floor?
Yoga and Pilates are excellent options for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and reducing the severity of stress urinary incontinence. When it comes to improving incontinence, however, Yoga outperforms Pilates.
14. Is Pilates good for arthritis?
Yes, Pilates is a wonderful exercise if you have arthritis. It frees the muscle movement, which helps remove swelling from the bones hence helping the arthritis patients.
15. Can Pilates make your back pain worse?
Excess of everything is bad. So, despite the good results, if you perform Pilates more than normal, you are bound to feel the consequences.
16. Why does my back hurt after Pilates?
Sometimes doing Pilates, you make movements that are not correct, so instead of correct alignment, there is improper alignment due to which the back feels pain. This can be avoided by practicing the positions and performing them correctly.
17. What are the dangers of Pilates?
If not performed correctly, Pilates can cause a variety of disorders. The very common problem is disc damage or damage to the entire spinal cord.
18. Is Pilates or yoga better for sciatica?
Pilates is way better than yoga for sciatica as it heals current pain and also if there was any pain due to some injuries; therefore, Pilates is a better recommendation in case of sciatica.
19. Can Pilates worsen sciatica?
As you rotate your leg in a circular motion, this Pilates exercise stretches the hamstring. This can result in pain, irritation of the sciatic nerve, and hamstring injury.