DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOGA AND PILATES
Well, well, well. The debate is here! Yoga versus Pilates. Which one is better? What is the difference? Why doesn’t Pilates have hipsters in coffee houses wearing Pilates pants? The answers may astound you.
No, really. We’re not debating Coca-Cola versus Pepsi or Nike versus Adidas here. In all actuality, Yoga and Pilates are very closely related and actually have a great deal in common. Truth be told, they actually work well together so you don’t have to pick sides, although many practitioners have their favorites for a myriad of reasons. Ultimately, when we look into the questions posed by fans of Yoga versus Pilates, it comes down to personal goals.
In a nutshell
- Yoga has been around in some form for nearly 5,000 years. Yes, 5,000 years. Obviously, in that time it has developed a strong spiritual component, which is one of the strongest and most popular details of the entire practice. Simply put, Yoga is the confluence of spirit and body – and just so happens to do a great job of connecting those two. After all, if you do something for that long, it ought to be good!
- Pilates, on the other hand, is a virtual upstart. Joseph Pilates didn’t really begin to document his practices until the 1920’s in New York, although he had worked for years in England. His ideas were to unite the mind, body and spirit – similar to Yoga, but with the end result being based on a modern scientific approach.
In many ways, the results of thousands of years of evolution for Yoga and the benefits of scientific research in Pilates arrived from two very similar practices.
So what are the major differences?
Yoga versus Pilates
Pilates has nearly always been dependent on some degree of extraneous apparatus. Pilates has the distinct “feel” of an exercise regime born in an industrial era, hence the straps, bolsters, and blocks. Historically, Yoga has not relied on any of those items, merely the practitioner’s body (although we are seeing a “melding” of apparatus in both practices).
Pilates on the surface, prizes strength, muscle toning, body control, and flexibility, with the main emphasis being core strength. It is a truly intense workout without mile after mile of cardio or the latent “spiritual” component that Yoga practitioners, historically, have embraced.
Yoga, on the other hand, places a great deal of emphasis on the major muscle groups and how they interact. As a result of the rich history, the range of workouts available in Yoga can be gentle enough for even the most aged and intense enough that even a professional athlete will struggle to complete it.
Pilates from its origin was designed as a workout, exerting control through the core muscles in the abs, the pelvis, and the lower back. As these were strengthened the rest of the body would be attended to at the same time. This exertion of control was not only within the body but also within the mind. The added benefit of this very early type of resistance training was to increase caloric burn long after the workout had finished.
In the end, many Yoga studios now offer exercises that are tinged with the research of Pilates and vice versa. Joseph Pilates made no effort to hide his appreciation of how well Yoga serves the body of those who use it but his breakthrough was to take that history and create a more physically challenging platform. In the end, it comes down to the goals that you have for yourself personally – are you looking to burn off some extra calories and build endurance? If so then Yoga offers some very real benefits.
Pilates though was designed intentionally to offer specific muscle-strengthening techniques. In this sense, many find that it produces a more intense and visible result in the conditioning and development of muscle mass and strength training.
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