Yoga vs Pilates – What is the Actual Difference?

Yoga vs Pilates DifferenceYou’re a master on the mat and a powerhouse when it comes to plank, but do you know your teaser from your boat pose? Its a question we get asked on the regular from Pilates newbies (or Yogi converts), what is the actual Yoga vs Pilates difference?

Hugely popular in their own right, there’s no denying the benefits to practising both Yoga and Pilates. Both are low-impact workouts that focus on using bodyweight resistance and promote strength of body and mind, create long lean muscle tone and suit all abilities. There are, however, some big differences between them…

Probably the biggest difference between Yoga and Pilates is the purpose, or intent. Traditionally, Yoga is practiced with the goal of achieving a meditative or blissful state. While the body inadvertently benefits from stretching and vigorous Vinyasa flows, the real aim here is stress relief and meditation. Have you ever emerged from a savasana feeling like you’ve just had the best sleep of your life? Yeah, you’re doing it right.

While Pilates certainly has a mindful element to it (creator Joseph Pilates believed mental and physical health were interrelated), it is practiced today with the aim of strengthening and rehabilitating the body, improving posture and toning that tush.

Breathing Technique
Breathing in Yoga (pranayama) is done with the belly. The primary aim is directing it to tense parts of the body to help them relax. In Pilates, we use lateral breathing (or ribcage breathing) that engages the core and abdominals. The breathing pattern in Pilates is consistent throughout the entire practice and helps support poses and movement.

Poses in Yoga can be modified to suit an individual’s limitations but generally speaking, Yoga requires substantial flexibility and mobility, especially the spine, hips and wrists. Pilates on the other hand is a lot more subtle in each of its positions. Ideal for someone recovering from injury or with mobility limitations.

There are more “types” of Yoga than there are Pilates. You may want to unwind and clear your mind with a Restorative or Yin Yoga class. Get sweaty with an invigorating Vinyasa session. Or connect to your breath with a Kundalini practice. Traditional Pilates can really only be practiced one way, with the exception of mat and reformer classes, where the equipment is different, but the moves are essentially the same. Our experienced instructors can offer a modification for every posture depending on your body’s limitations. But a Pilates class is a Pilates class – consistent and precise isolated movements repeated in sets to achieve a certain result from that part of the body.

Are you a yogi looking to convert? Get started with one of our Intro Offers today to find our the true Yoga vs Pilates difference! Or, learn more about the Pilates Principle with an online tutorial with our expert instructor Laura, here!