As a teacher of both, people often ask me what’s the difference between Yoga and Pilates, and which one should I choose…
Yoga v Pilates – what’s the difference?
Before we delve into the differences, let’s start with the similarities. When Joseph Pilates first developed his exercise methodology back in the early 20th century, one of his key influences was Yoga, and for those of us who practice both, it is easy to see that common heritage shining through.
While both practices have their own unique moves, many of the exercises/postures are strikingly similar. Classes for both are based on participants moving through a structured sequence of different mat-based exercises/postures and establishing a smooth flow, both within and between each movement. Both have a strong focus on developing good postural alignment and untangling tight muscles, and important to both is developing an awareness of which muscles you’re using and learning to move with control and precision.
But there are important differences too. For example, the way the breath is used and the length of time each exercise/posture is practiced and held.
I don’t think Pilates can be beaten for helping to improve posture and spinal alignment, and strengthen those all-important deep core muscles. Many people (myself included) come to Pilates via physio after developing specific joint or movement problems, often brought on by our modern sedentary lifestyle, poor posture or injury. Doing Pilates will help to resolve those problems and build a strong and stable foundation for movement.
Yoga on the other hand brings more focus onto improving flexibility and range of movement, along with further developing balance, strength and endurance. Unlike Pilates exercises, Yoga postures or ‘asanas’ are generally held for a longer time and can involve more challenging combinations of movement. Yoga also has a much stronger emphasis on mindfulness, relaxation and breathing techniques, all incredibly powerful when it comes to things like enhancing your concentration and stamina, and reducing stress and tension.
Which should I choose?
The answer is both!
Many top sports performers have recognized the power of the combination in enhancing their performance and now include combined Pilates and Yoga in their regular training programmes – from top football and rugby teams like the All Blacks to tennis stars like Serena Williams.
But it’s not just a winning combo for top athletes, it can help the rest of us to too. And you don’t need to be fit or super bendy – both Yoga and Pilates work for everyone. So, whether you have a specific sports or fitness goal or just want to improve your general health and well-being, give the winning combo a go!
We’ll be starting to add Yoga classes to our timetable from mid-May at Swanston Golf Club on Wednesday evenings, so if you’re interested in learning more or signing up for classes get in touch.
Yoga Workshop – Saturday 23 June
If you’re new to Yoga and fancy trying it out, or if you’ve done it before and there’s some aspect of your practice you want to work on, why not come along to our Yoga Workshop on Saturday, 23 June.
0131 226 5009