“Pilates! That’s like yoga isn’t it?!” I hear when I tell people what I do. I then try to find a quick overview to explain the difference between yoga and Pilates.
It might start something like, “Well they do have similarities but infact they are fundamentally quite different…”
Within the fitness industry there are a lot of ‘fusion’ training methods and one such example is ‘Yogalates’. Classes are a mixture of both Yoga and Pilates together.
Purists of either discipline may not approve but banding them together is certainly one reason why there may be a little confusion for people trying to differentiate the two.
Yoga has been around for 5,000 years and it’s origins are essentially a form of worship.
A deeply spiritual practice that is far more than just physical exercise. Each position or pose (asana) in yoga is actually an ‘offering’ to one of the many Hindu Gods. The word Yoga itself actually means ‘To Yoke’ – to connect to the Gods. Chanting and meditation are also an integral part of true yoga practice. All with the main purpose to reach spiritual enlightenment.
Western practice of yoga has diluted it down to be more well known as a relaxing form of stretching exercise.
Pilates on the other hand has no spiritual worship connotations, no chanting and no guided meditation techniques. If you receive these in a class it is likely to be a fusion class rather than classical Pilates. Pilates is about 70 years old and only in relatively recent times has it increased in popularity. The breathing techniques are also different, while yoga focuses on ‘Chi’ or ‘universal life force’, Pilates takes a more scientific approach in achieving ‘maximal oxygen intake to fuel the body’s systems’.
There are many more differences between Yoga and Pilates, therefore my advice would be to research both to see which you prefer.
The obvious similarities between the two however are working on a mat, having bare feet and lying down a lot!
– This Article has been published in the October edition of Life Magazine – http://www.lifemagazines.co.uk