Pilates and Yoga have both taken the fitness world by storm in the last 50+ years. 

Each practice has drawn its fair share of fans who swear by one or the other. 

At first glance, it may seem that both are very similar, but are they? 

Let’s have a closer look at the main differences that set these two fitness practices apart. 

The Differences

1 - The End Goal

The biggest overarching difference between Pilates and Yoga is the end goal. 

The goal of Pilates is to rehabilitate the body, strengthen the core (abdomen), and improve posture. 

The goal of Yoga is to experience unity and connection, first within oneself and the body, and then with the rest of the world. 

2 - Origins

Yoga is much older than Pilates. 

It’s an ancient practice dated as far back as 5,000 years with its origins in India. 

Pilates was created post World War II, circa 1920 by a German named Joseph Pilates. 

3 - Points of Focus

Pilates is very focused on the physical body while Yoga is a mental/emotional/physical/spiritual practice. 

In Yoga, we use the body to transcend the mind and reach the highest level of consciousness known as Samadhi. 

4 - Different Styles

Pilates is generally viewed as having two styles - mat pilates or pilates performed on the machines such as the Reformer. 

There are many different styles of yoga, however. 

Some are muscle-focused and fast-paced, like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Power Yoga, and Hot Yoga. 

Others are slower-paced and focus on the connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments, like Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga. 

5 - Breath-Focused

While both use the breath as a practice tool, the intention behind it is different. 

In Pilates, the breath is used to aid the muscles and provide them with oxygen and energy.

Controlled breathing in Pilates is done to help the core muscles contract during exercises. 

Breath control (Pranayama) is a major focus in Yoga too. 

Yogis use their breath to help calm down a racing mind, anxiety, and an overactive nervous system. 

They can also use the breath to energize and wake the body up. 

6 - Types of Practices

While both practices have a focus on working the physical body and the breath as a tool, Yoga has other focuses too. 

Lifestyle practices such as self-regulating behaviors (Yamas) and personal observances (Niyamas), drawing the senses inwardly (Pratyahara), sustaining one-pointed focus (Dharana), deep meditation (Dhyana), and blissful transcendence and inner knowing (Samadhi) are also points of focus of Classical Yoga too. 

The Similarities 

The Verdict

Both practices are effective and beneficial for mental, emotional, and more importantly physical health. 

Why should you have to choose between one or the other? 

Why not practice both in a way that works for you? 

One isn’t better than the other. 

Comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. 

By practicing both you’ll increase your chances of getting the results you’re after and reaping all of the combined benefits. 

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pilates at the
green valley spa

Imagine an exercise program that you look forward to, that engages you, and that leaves you refreshed and alert with a feeling of physical and mental well-being.

The Pilates Method (pronounced puh-LAH-teez) of Body Conditioning will do all this...and more.

what is pilates
Developed in the 1920s by the legendary physical trainer and founder of The Pilates StudioŽ, Joseph H. Pilates, The Pilates Method is an exercise system focused on improving flexibility and strength for the total body without building bulk.

The Pilates Method is not just exercise, however. It is a series of controlled movements engaging your body and mind, performed on specifically designed exercise apparatus and supervised by extensively trained teachers.

who can benefit from pilates
The Pilates Method of body conditioning promotes physical harmony and balance for people of all ages and physical conditions while providing a refreshing and energizing workout. Because conditioning sessions are done one-to-one with a teacher or in closely supervised small groups, each session is tailored to your specific needs, regardless of your current level of fitness - from sedentary office worker to fitness enthusiast. The Pilates Method can be safely used by pregnant women to learn proper breathing and body alignment, improve concentration, and recover body shape and tone after pregnancy.

why is pilates different?
Joseph H. Pilates designed more than 500 specific exercises using five major pieces of unique apparatus to develop the body uniformly. Instead of performing many repetitions of each exercise, Joseph H. Pilates preferred fewer, more precise movements, requiring proper control and form. Because your mind is required to engage with your body to perform the movements correctly, you experience a new awareness of muscle function and control. The "powerhouse" - abdomen, lower back, and buttocks - is supported and strengthened, enabling the rest of the body to move freely.

about joseph pilates
Born in Germany in 1880, Joseph H. Pilates had a lifelong interest in body conditioning. As a frail child dedicated to becoming stronger, he later grew to become an accomplished skier, diver, gymnast, and boxer. While interned in England during World War I for his German citizenship, Joseph became a nurse. During this time, he designed exercise apparatus for immobilized patients by attaching springs to hospital beds. This system formed the foundation for his style of body conditioning and specialized exercise apparatus, which he brought to New York City when he opened the first Pilates Studio in 1926.


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