What is the difference between Yoga and Pilates?
I often get asked by clients, particularly new clients who have just started Pilates and clients who not done any Pilates before but have done some Yoga.
The simple answer I give is Yoga primarily works on flexibility and Pilates primarily works on stability. In Pilates we do work on flexibility, but our primary focus works on stability, learning to engage and strengthen the muscles that support and stabilise the spine.
Another difference is the mind/body element of both Yoga and Pilates. Both can give you a great feeling of stress relief and relaxation, but their mind/body elements are different. The relaxation you get from Yoga tends to come from a spiritual element included in the class. In Pilates it comes from the focus and concentration you have to have on your own body whilst you are exercising. In Pilates you need your full attention on engaging the right muscles and breathing correctly whilst moving. This means that you can’t be thinking about your shopping list or what you are going to have for tea. This concentration and focus on your own body for an hour seems to give clients stress relief and relaxation.
There are many different types and styles of Yoga and Pilates and every teacher will have there own style so no two classes ever feel quite the same. From my own experience I have found Hatha Yoga to be the most similar to Pilates, some of the movements and shapes are the same or very similar. The main difference I have found between Hatha Yoga and Pilates is that Hatha Yoga tend to hold positions, whereas Pilates tends to have flowing movement throughout the class.