Yoga Or Pilates? The Key Difference & Benefits

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Yoga and Pilates are exercises known for their ability to tone bodies at low intensity and without impact. While they each have their unique principles and postures, both exercises are aerobic, meaning they can increase blood flow and burn fat and carbohydrates for energy. At the same time, those who perform these workouts can reach a “recovery pace,” where the heart rate slows down and the muscles have a chance to stretch, build, and recover.  This active recovery is one reason athletes will incorporate yoga or Pilates into their exercise regimen. Still,a half hour to an hour of this type of exercise is sufficient for cardiovascular and muscular health if done three to four times per week for most other people.

So, what is the difference between yoga and Pilates? We know that Pilates involves precise movements for strengthening and lengthening the body, but is yoga good for toning as well? 

Pilates focuses on engaging and contracting and then releasing specific muscle groups at a time. Pilates will sometimes incorporate special equipment for extra resistance, such as Pilates Reformer, to increase muscle tone. This is one reason why Pilates is often practiced in conjunction with Physiotherapy.

Pilates places awareness on proper form while focusing on small muscle groups. To see how Pilates is different from yoga, let’s take a look at some of Pilate’s unique benefits: 

  • Improved posture and spinal stability
  • Core strength and stability
  • Increased muscle tone and control
  • Strength in hips, lower back, and pelvis
  • Coordination and balance
  • Flexibility

Like Pilates, yoga has similar benefits for both body and mind. When it comes to flexibility, toning, and strength, yoga focuses on the whole body and total body movements. Yoga also sometimes uses equipment, but rather than increasing tone, these props, such as blocks or straps, make poses more achievable. Each yoga pose helps to strengthen and stretch the body and works more so against gravity for resistance.

Here are a few benefits of practicing yoga:

  • Body awareness
  • Lower stress levels
  • Increased cardiovascular health
  • Better sleep
  • Balance and coordination
  • Better focus and concentration

After taking a closer look at each exercise, we can see how they both help tone the body in their own way. Each exercise incorporates bodyweight, but with different methods and sometimes even equipment. If you want to strengthen, stretch, and tone your body, both of these exercises would benefit you. Your physiotherapist can also help recommend one over the other depending on any injuries or your personal goals.