Yoga vs. Pilates or Yogilates: What Is Better for You?

Yoga Wellness Educator. Certified to teach Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Pilates, Reiki. Yoga Therapist-in-training. I love to write.

Tree pose to improve your balance and strengthen your concentration

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In June 2002, I graduated from the Hatha and Raja Yoga Studies School in Toronto, Canada and became a Hatha Yoga teacher/instructor.

In August 2006, I completed my Pilates Mat Certification Part I with Susie Dias, owner of the East to West Yoga school in Toronto. I took this Pilates instructor training to do something different.

I favor yoga over Pilates. In my mind, nothing compares to yoga. But as I practise the Pilates program I trained for, especially in these lockdown days, I am increasingly aware of its importance to promoting good physical health.

The Pilates Instructor training program is so influenced by Hatha Yoga poses that I consider it more Yogilates than Pilates.

Yoga

When people say yoga, they usually mean Hatha Yoga.

Yoga is thousands of years old. It originated in India as part of a philosophical system that included Raja Yoga or control of the mind, Karma Yoga or the yoga of action, Jnana Yoga or the yoga of knowledge, Bhakti Yoga or the yoga of devotion, and Hatha Yoga as physical exercise.

Yoga is not a religion. In addition to physical poses, the exercise routine encourages spirituality, meditation, and greater understanding of yourself.

No equipment is required to practise yoga other than a sticky yoga mat. You could use props such as a belt, a foam block, or a blanket.

Yoga therapy is an offshoot of yoga based on the koshic model of Ayurveda. The yoga therapist designs a sequence of yoga poses that works for you.

Pilates

Pilates is a physical fitness system named after Joseph Pilates who developed it.

A series of movements done in sequence aim to improve flexibility, muscular strength, and endurance. The movements are designed to put no damaging stress on the body. Emphasis is on proper postural alignment and core strength.

Optimal postural alignment is required for best possible movement. It allows postural stability, which means being able to keep the position of the body, in particular the centre of the body, within specific boundaries of space.

The Pilates Mat exercises I teach are mostly done on a mat on the floor. Some of these exercises are done standing up preferably on a sticky mat but can be done on the floor. No equipment is required, but you could use props such as a ball.

Pilates classes are group practice.

Pilates movement on a ball.

Image by Marta Cuesta from Pixabay

Yogilates

Yogilates is a term coined by Jonathan Urla, who in 1997 designed new Pilates classes and called them Yogilates. Urla was a Pilates instructor and yoga enthusiast who wanted to integrate both practices into a system with its own characteristics and benefits.

Yogilates is a modern form of fitness training that combines exercises from Pilates with Hatha yoga poses and movements. It is said to combine the benefits of both practices.

The idea in Yogilates is to use physical asana practice to improve flexibility, strength, breathing capacity, and range of motion of the joints. On a mental level, it is meant to help with balance, body control and concentration.

Pilates helps to make the body function better by balancing the development of different muscle groups and giving the practitioner better movement patterns.

Yogilates classes are organized like usual yoga classes. They start with a warm-up and gentle floor-based movements, move into strength and stretch work, and then to more challenging standing poses. They may incorporate meditation and relaxation. A quiet, mindful ambiance will be maintained all through.

Prevalent movements include lifting the arms and legs, arching, rolling the body, and stretching. They are usually done on sticky mats, using props like resistance bands. The routines are minimal impact and can be easily modified to suit various levels and abilities.

Comparison

The key difference between Pilates and Yoga is in their focus. Pilates focuses on the body and mind. Yoga focuses on the body, mind, and spirit.

Diverse types of yoga have emerged from Hatha Yoga over the years that differ in pacing and emphasis, such as power yoga, hot yoga, aerial yoga, Kundalini yoga, Vinyasa yoga, etc.

Pilates has mostly remained the same other than borrowing poses from Hatha Yoga.

Yoga does promote physical and muscular development, but it is a holistic way of life. Yoga is for those who are looking for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, whereas Pilates and Yogilates are for those who want to get a lean, toned, and fit body.

Comparison Table

  Yoga Pilates & Yogilates

How recent is it?

Ancient practice from India leading to physical, emotional, and mental well being.

Physical fitness program developed in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates.

Focus

Mind and body. Compassion toward all beings including you, and the search for balance in your life and lifestyle. It is meditation in action.

Mind and body. Mental concentration, and movement.

Health Benefits

Improves function of the nervous system. Increases energy level. Improves range of motion of joints. Improves dynamic balance, minimizing the risk of falling. Increases mindfulness.

Improves core strength and stability. Improves posture and balance. Improves flexibility. Prevents back pain.

Physical focus

Therapeutic uniting the body, mind, and spirit to release stress and to live in harmony.

Building core strength and lengthening the spine.

Which is more suitable?

If you want flexibility over toning, and if you want something to reduce stress and an opportunity for quiet time.

If you’re looking to improve flexibility while toning muscles, notably your abdominal muscles.

Summary

The key difference between Pilates and Yoga is in their focus. Pilates focuses on the body and mind. Yoga focuses on the body, mind, and spirit.

Yoga boosts physical and muscular development, and improves balance and concentration, but it is a holistic way of life focusing on your overall well-being.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Reference

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