Pilates vs Yoga – what’s the difference?

If you’re looking for a gentle and fulfilling exercise routine that’ll aid your body and mind, as well as provide a beauty game-changer, chances are you’ll have arrived at either yoga or pilates.

These two disciplines are often mentioned in the same breath, but as you’ll discover in this blog post, there are a number of differences that you need to be aware of.

What is yoga?

Yoga is one of the world’s oldest and most established workouts. Whilst its popularity has exploded in recent years, yoga has been used for over 5,000 years to help individuals embrace the ultimate workout for the mind and body.

Originally from ancient India, there are now more than 100 types of yoga to try. Classes range from hot, cold, and traditional styles like Hatha, Iyengar, Vinyasa, and Bikram to novelty such as nude, beer, and even goat yoga!

Yoga unlocks many benefits. It burns calories, enhances muscle tone, strengthens the body as a whole, boosts flexibility, and ensures complete relaxation to name but a few advantages. While target areas vary depending on the yoga style practised, most types engage the core, arms, legs, glutes, and back to guarantee a full-body workout.

Yoga is suitable for people of all ages and from all walks of life. It’s even recommended by the NHS as a great exercise for elderly people looking to relieve arthritis and other health conditions.

What is pilates?

Like yoga, pilates relies on a series of movements that may look simple but require control and accuracy.

Breathing also plays a vital role in pilates to ensure whole-body health. In comparison to yoga, however, pilates is a newbie to the workout scene. Here the Pilates Foundation explains more about its relatively recent history:

“Far more than a recent fitness craze, Pilates has been developed and practised since the 1920s when Joseph and Clara Pilates opened their ‘Body Conditioning Gym’ in New York City… Joseph Pilates was born near Düsseldorf, Germany in 1883. Little is known about his early life, but he appears to have been a frail child, suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. His drive and determination to overcome these ailments led him to study yoga, become a competent gymnast, diver and skier.” By combining these various practices – he created Pilates.

The benefits of practising Pilates on a regular basis include improved flexibility, strength and muscle tone. It’s also a low impact exercise that’s suitable for a diverse range of people, including beginners. The core, arms, and legs are main focuses in pilates, with participants using their own body weight to enjoy higher levels of resistance.

How do they differ?

Yoga and pilates share a long list of similarities. Both provide a workout for the body, use mat-based exercises to tone and condition, and focus on flow, and control. It’s also important to note that Joseph Pilates was trained in yoga. Pilates and yoga are however different in many more ways.

Yoga focuses on boosting the strength and flexibility of the spine, arms, and legs. In yoga, Moolabandha (pelvic floor stability), Udiyana Banda (core stability), and Jalandabandha (cervical spine stability) are practised to ensure that the spine is never compromised for flexibility. Pilates on the other hand puts core strength and overall flexibility first.

Yoga matches breath to the movement, whereas pilates movements come from the core. The role of breathing is different in each discipline, with yogis encouraged to stay connected through breathing and those practising pilates told to use the breath to improve the precision of movements.

The vast majority of pilates exercises are performed lying down, while yoga poses are executed from a seated, standing or laying down positions.

In addition to the physical component, Yoga includes mind training. Yoga develops from physical practices to mental, emotional and cognitive training. The aim of Yoga is to encourage emotional resilience, mental clarity and cognitive flexibility.

Yoga and pilates are both excellent practices. As for which one is right for you, it’s entirely down to personal preference.

Here at Organic Apoteke, the principles of yoga actively inspire our all-natural product range. Just like yoga, our skincare essentials provide the stimulation needed to flush out damaging toxins and bring essential nutrients that are integral to healthy, glowing skin.

Our eco-ethical brand puts nature on the pedestal by using vegetarian, alcohol-free and wholesome skin ingredients to deliver all kinds of goodness.

Shop our Active range here.