When looking for a new exercise routine, you hear a lot of different words thrown about, such as yoga, HIIT, Cardio training, breathing techniques, pilates, and more. At least, these are just some of the terms I heard and saw before deciding what workouts I wanted to do. Even though there are a plethora of workout routines and exercises you can do, today we’re going to focus on yoga vs. pilates. What are they? What’s the difference? Can anyone do them? Those are just some of the questions I’ll answer along with how you can get started today!
What are they?
- While there are many definitions to yoga, my favorite is the most basic, which is union. Yoga is the union or connection of the body to anything around us. It can bring conscious awareness to our bodily sensations and the way we fit into our environment. It involves many steps, including breathing techniques, meditation, and concentration, along with physical movement. Most people practice asana, which is a sequence of physical movements designed to purify the body and increase bodily strength and stamina. Even though asana is the most common, there are actually eight areas of yoga! You can read more about these here.
- Pilates or “Contrology” was designed by Joseph Pilates over 70 years ago as a type of conditioning method that’s used to bring awareness to the mind-body connection. There are five basic principles of pilates, which include precision, concentration, control, centering, flow, and breath. It’s important to keep these principles in mind while doing pilates because each movement should follow all five principles. To read more, click here!
What’s the difference between Yoga and Pilates?
Yoga and pilates, while similar at first glance, actually have many differences. Even though both are designed to bring awareness to your body, their origins, principles, and movements are different from each other. To start off with, yoga is over thousands of years old, whereas pilates is only approximately 100 years old. Yoga is intertwined with the practices of Hinduism, whereas pilates is a conditioning method developed by one man. Both are low impact, but yoga focuses more on flexibility and breathing, whereas pilates focuses on control and conditioning, especially the powerhouse (core) and areas of the spine (lumbar, thoracic, and cervical). While both use some of the same equipment, pilates is more likely to use things like a foam roller and theraband in a way that condition your muscles, instead of just stretching them. Lastly, yoga and pilates share many of the same movements, however yoga focuses more on stretching and balancing, whereas pilates focuses on precision and control of all movements. Some examples of yoga movements are the Warrior sequence, the crow, and sun salutations. The 100’s, criss-cross, and double leg stretch are an example of just some of the movements pilates has that yoga doesn’t.
How are they going to impact me?
Anyone can do both of these forms of exercise! Both are designed to be low impact so that anyone, regardless of weight or injury, can perform these exercises. All exercises are done on a mat, with the majority of pilates movements being on your back.
What equipment do I need?
While you technically don’t need to have any equipment, it can be beneficial to have a yoga/pilates mat. I recommend using a pilates mat. They are thicker and more comfortable, especially if you’re on your knees. However, either one will work just fine! If you want to learn more exercises, you can try using an exercise ball. Both pilates and yoga use these, but in different ways. It doesn’t matter which one you’re doing, an exercise ball is a great workout tool! (plus, you get to bounce on it!!) If you’re doing pilates, I would suggest using a Theraband. These are super stretch bands that you can use to stretch the arms and legs as well as condition them. Therabands have recently become one of my favorite workout tools because it’s like having a gym in your pocket. You don’t need to have dumbbells or any other weight machines when you use these. Plus, they’re very affordable (only about $5-10) and you can easily take them anywhere you go! Lastly, I would recommend a foam roller. They’re great to massage certain parts of your body and to make exercises a bit more intense (sometimes really intense depending on the exercise!)
I’m not flexible, can I still do these?
Of course!! One of the great benefits of these exercises is that they can be done by anyone at any stage. Many people think you need to be flexible to do these exercises and you really don’t. Plus, through these exercises, you’ll gradually become more flexible, so that’s something you don’t even need to worry about!
What are the benefits?
Not only will you increase your balance, relaxation, and posture, but these can relieve muscle tension, cramps (ladies!), stress, and more. Personally, I’ve found that my balance has increased dramatically with these workouts, along with lower back pain and stress. While there are many more benefits, these are the ones I personally experience on a day-to-day basis. If you’re stressed, have any type of injury, or are looking for a low impact workout, try yoga or pilates today!
Do I have to do them at a certain time?
Nope! You can do them anytime of the day! However, I do love working out in the morning, especially for pilates. I feel that my focus and concentration increase, which helps motivate me to get through work and classes during the day. For yoga, there are sequences out there that are designed to energize you or relax you so you can fall asleep. So, if you have trouble falling asleep, you might benefit from trying meditation or yoga to fall asleep. (psst! I’ve done these and they really do work!!)
When can I get started?
Um, right now! Grab a video off Youtube, there are probably thousands, that can show you beginning to advanced techniques for both yoga and pilates.
So there you have it! Yoga and pilates, while similar, actually have a lot of differences and benefits you might not have known about. Now that you’re an expert, try one or both of them today! We’d love to hear your experience with either one of these amazing exercise methods. Please, like, share, and subscribe, thank you!