‘What is the difference between Yoga and Pilates?’  Sometimes people can be confused about which one is best for them.  Here, our qualified pilates instructor Franki, provides a quick overview of the differences between these two concepts.


Standing the test of time

Yoga is steeped in history, with over 5000 years of influence.  It began in India with the purpose of connect individuals spiritually,  emotionally and physically.  Yoga aims to improve health through breathing, posture and simple mediation.  Pilates on the other hand, is not yet a century old.   Developed in the 1930’s by Joseph Pilates, it was used to strengthen the core and body as a whole.  Pilates also looked to improve balance and stabilisation, as well as connecting mind to body. Originally Pilates was used for rehabilitation and over the years has been adapted and developed into what Pilates is today. It still follows the original 8 Pilates’ principle Joseph founded.

One big difference between Yoga and Pilates is the spiritual component. Pilates was originally designed as a prescribed routine of movements to help rehabilitate athletes.  However, Yoga was created to help people to follow a path to spiritual enlightenment through a sequence of poses.


How Yoga and Pilates are performed

Both Yoga and Pilates can be performed on a mat but this is where the similarities end.  Yoga may use blocks, straps and blankets to aid poses.  This is minimal compared to Pilates.  Pilates traditionally uses machines, such as the Reformer or Cadillac models.   These systems use springs or pulleys to assist or resist the movement.  Pilates machines also aim to assist proper movement to aid alignment of the spine and improve core strength and movement accuracy.

Class format between the two often differs.  Yoga incorporates meditation to relax the body.  On the other hand, Pilates focuses upon ‘switching muscles on’.  Both concepts are built around breathing and technical accuracy.   However, Pilates tends to work through movements quickly.   Moving from one exercise to the next, once the movement has been mastered it is not repeated in a class.  Yoga often hold poses for a prolonged period of time.  This allows to the body to relax in to the position and follow a repeating flow.


Which one is right for you?

Both Yoga and Pilates provide benefits from their mind-body control approach to movement.  Therefore both methods are worth exploring.  If you’re looking for a more mindful approach to movement Yoga can be a great fit.   Alternatively, Pilates may get the nod if you are looking for a deep core muscle work out.  Ascot personal trainer and S&C coach Franki leads personal and small group Pilates sessions.  If you would like further information do not hesitate to contact us.