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It can come as something as a surprise to some people that Pilates and Yoga are not actually the same thing. Both are forms of exercise that are excellent for relaxation and fitness; however, there are some key differences between the two that can make one a better fit for an individual over the other. 

What is Yoga?

Yoga has been around for centuries. It offers a very meditative experience that combines robust physical stretches with breathing exercises that are designed to stimulate the release of physical and mental toxins from the body. Yoga encourages awareness and also a connection of the body and mind as a result of specific breathing methods and movements.

Yoga is usually done with no equipment except a yoga mat. There are six different branches of yoga – Raja, Jnana, Tantra, Bhakti, Karma and Hatha and within each of these branches, there are a number of different types of yoga. Hatha Yoga is widely considered to be the most suitable form of Yoga for beginners.

What is Pilates?

Pilates as a discipline was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. It relies on a more precise form of control which allows those who practise it to work on postural alignment, combining movement and breath work to develop a greater understand of where and how your body moves in space.

Pilates workouts help improve flexibility, balance and core strength, and are particularly effective if you suffer from back pain. Research published in the journal PLOS One in 2014 showed that Pilates can both effectively ease back pain and boost functional movement when compared to traditional methods like massage therapy and other forms of exercise.

Whilst Pilates can be practised without equipment, other than a mat, it often uses reformers and benches.

Like Yoga, there are a number of different forms of Pilates, Mat Pilates is the easiest for a beginner. For those who are looking for a faster-paced Pilates, possibly to run alongside some other form of training, there is Fitness Pilates. You will find this on my online Beyond the Studio members area as Flow Pilates, and the aim of this form of Pilates is to identify basic imbalances in movement and posture and improve them through specific exercises. This is a great choice for anyone involved in a sport such as running or cycling, where good posture and balance can improve results.

What do they have in common?

Both Yoga and Pilates have one big thing in common, and that it the incredible benefits that they can offer with regard to mental clarity, physical health and the fact that they can help to improve overall health and mobility for other forms of exercise. If you’re considering Pilates as a form of exercise, why not try out one of my classes to see if this is the right fit for you?