Not sure if you should take yoga or Pilates classes? Not sure exactly what the difference between these two is? There are several factors to consider when deciding which method is best for you. You may want to start a new form of exercise and find it difficult to choose between yoga and Pilates. What you choose becomes part of your life, and the choice you make depends on the outcome you want to achieve.
Part 1 of 3: Making your goals clear
Step 1. Are you looking for physical recovery?
Both yoga and Pilates can help to recover physically. For example, for those with an injury, Pilates is a proven method to reduce pain and recover from injury. Yoga, on the other hand, is often used as part of mental and emotional recovery.
- Yoga can also be very good for physical recovery, sometimes even better than Pilates, depending on your personal needs. An experienced, knowledgeable yoga teacher can help you build strength and flexibility, select exercises that suit your level, and adjust the exercises as needed.
- Yoga classes can be very different from each other depending on the movement, teacher or yoga studio. For example, there are classes for chair-bound seniors, meditative yoga, yoga for toddlers, and classes for Olympic-level athletes. Pilates is less diverse.
Step 2. Decide whether you think it's important to tighten your body
With both yoga and Pilates you can strengthen your muscle groups and get a better figure. Pilates puts more emphasis on muscle building. For example, if you want to lose weight, you can do Pilates exercises with Pilates machines, which will add a cardio and fitness element to your Pilates poses so that you burn even more calories. There are no machines in yoga.
Step 3. Think about the improvement in your mental health you would like to get from your exercises
Yoga is known for its beneficial effects on mental health. When you do yoga, you calm your sympathetic nervous system, which helps with stress, and it calms the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which regulates hormone levels.
Step 4. Consider whether you want to pursue spirituality with your practices
Yoga is an ancient method where spirituality can be explored. Mediation is an important part of yoga. Yoga and Pilates both balance body and mind, but Pilates does not emphasize spirituality like yoga.
On the other hand, yoga can also be done without emphasizing spirituality, if that doesn't suit you. When it comes to choosing a class, you can also choose a more secular yoga class if spirituality doesn't interest you
Part 2 of 3: Understanding the key differences
Step 1. Read more about the origin of both methods
It may be helpful in making your decision to read about the origins of yoga and Pilates on the Internet. Some of the key points are:
- Yoga originated in India over 5000 years ago. What is popularly called yoga is actually part of a larger philosophy and lifestyle. It is designed to help you better understand yourself and promote balance between mind and body.
- Pilates was invented at the beginning of the 20th century as a method to rehabilitate and strengthen the body. It started as a rehabilitation tool for World War I soldiers, but it became really popular when dancers started using it to improve their dance performance.
Step 2. Assess the different assumptions of both methods
Yoga and Pilates are very similar in many ways. Both include postures and movements that should promote strength, flexibility and the connection of body and mind. Ultimately, yoga is more focused on your mind and how you feel, with strength and agility being a side effect. Pilates is mainly intended to strengthen your body and improve your posture and way of moving.
Step 3. Know the difference in breathing in yoga and Pilates
Yoga and Pilates use slightly different breathing techniques.
- In Pilates, breathing is used more as a technique to provide the muscles with sufficient energy so that you can perform the exercises effectively. If you focus on your breathing during all Pilates exercises, your body will receive enough oxygen so that the muscles can remain relaxed.
- In yoga you use breathing exercises to relax. When practicing yoga, it is important to stay focused on your breathing. Breathing in the direction of areas that feel tense will help you relax those muscle groups.
Step 4. Think about whether it is important to you to become more flexible
One of the main differences between yoga and Pilates is that you can use yoga to become more flexible in the joints and lengthen the muscles. Stretching and holding poses is a central theme in yoga. Pilates is more dynamic, and while it does make you more limber, that's not the focus. However, it is highly recommended that you stretch after Pilates so that you also become more flexible. Online Pilates instructors (such as Cassey Ho of Blogilates) offer stretching videos for you to do after your Pilates class.
Step 5. Decide how important it is to you to get stronger
Pilates focuses on relaxing muscles that are stiff and strengthening all kinds of muscle groups in the body. Unlike yoga, in Pilates you can also use devices that provide resistance in addition to the exercises on the mat, making it more like strength training than yoga.
Yoga and Pilates both include a variety of poses that are good for working the abs. However, Pilates is a lot more intensive, and you will see results sooner than with yoga. If you do Pilates exercises regularly, you will get a flatter and firmer stomach
Step 6. Assess the difference in mental health benefits
Know that yoga focuses more on the mind. Yoga has been shown to be beneficial for people with depression or anxiety disorders. Yoga seems to be more effective in mental illness because it targets both the mind and the body. Reflection and meditation are an important part of yoga. Many people start with yoga to reduce stress.
Part 3 of 3: Trying both
Step 1. Try Pilates at home
While it's not possible to have the full Pilates experience at home, you can get a sense of how it's done. The best way to try Pilates at home is with the help of YouTube. There are countless free videos of beginner Pilates classes on YouTube.
Remember that you cannot try the Pilates machines at home
Step 2. Try yoga at home
For yoga you need nothing but some space and free time, which makes it very easy to start at home. You might like to buy a mat, but it's not necessary. Search the internet for lessons so you know how to perform the poses properly. There are all kinds of videos and courses that can give you a good idea of what yoga is all about.
Step #3. Find nearby classes
If you want, you can just keep doing yoga or Pilates at home, without ever taking a class. But if you can take good classes, you will have a better experience with yoga or Pilates, and you will get the most out of the exercises. Search the Internet for classes near you. Compare prices and reviews. Then try some out.
When you arrive at the yoga or Pilates studio, talk to the teacher about your goals and what you expect from the classes. Then you know if this is the right lesson for you
Step 4. Go to classes of both yoga and Pilates so you can determine what is best for you
If you're still not sure whether you want to do yoga or Pilates, go to both classes for a while. See if you can take free trial lessons somewhere. Go to some good yoga and Pilates classes and you will be able to make an informed decision after a while as you will know better what suits your needs.