Yoga Or Pilates

Yoga Vs. Pilates: Which One Is More Effective

If you are looking for ways to stretch and strengthen the body, perhaps you should consider doing yoga or pilates. Without including stretches in your exercise routine, cardio and weights will only make your body sore over the years.

Both yoga and pilates enthusiasts carry out their workouts with the same zeal, boasting about the countless mental and physical benefits they will reap from their exercise routines. While the activities have many similar attributes, they also differ from each other.

Origin of Yoga

According to this reputable website, Yoga originated more than 5,000 years ago. The term “yoga” was derived from India’s earliest scriptures, known as Vedas. The Vedas consisted of the oldest teachings and techniques of Yoga, known as the Vedic Yogi.

Yoga Origin

The teachings were characterized by special rituals and ceremonies that were designed to surpass the limitations of the mind. Over the years, practitioners have been using yoga to gain stability and relaxation.

The term yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root word ‘Yuj’, which means to unite or to join. According to yogi scriptures, the practice of yoga is supposed to promote perfect harmony between the soul, body and mind.

Origin of Pilates

Initially, pilates was considered the workout of the elites however over the years, it has entered the mainstream world of fitness. The legendary method of exercising was designed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates.

Pilates Origin

Growing up, Pilates suffered from asthma and other ailments. As he grew old, he studied various exercise regimes to improve his condition. Later, he became increasingly interested in the Greek ideal of a man, with a balanced body, spirit and mind. Pilates tackled all his illnesses and grew up to become a competent skier, gymnast and diver.

Benefits of Yoga and Pilates

If you are unable to choose between the two, perhaps it’s time you familiarize yourself with the benefits of yoga and pilates.

Some Notable Benefits of Yoga

Notable Benefits of Yoga
  • Yoga is for Everybody: Most local gyms and yoga classes are open to people of all generations and fitness levels. One of the most prominent benefits of yoga is that practically everybody is welcome to join and learn from each other.
  • It’s a Lifestyle: Yoga is not merely an exercise; it is a way of life. The practice of yoga is designed to promote peace and tranquility that affects our everyday life as well. The deep breathing techniques and meditation practices help people keep their calm in difficult situation or in times of crisis.
  • Plenty of Options to Choose From: People can choose from the many different styles of yoga according to their lifestyle, whether it is prenatal yoga, power yoga, hot yoga or relaxation yoga. Take the advice of an expert and select from the variety of options according to your needs and goals.
  • Increases Flexibility: Yoga incorporates strength training and focuses mainly on flexibility. Almost all the yoga poses are designed to strengthen the body inside out so you not only feel good but look good as well.
  • Look Leaner: Holding postures and adopting yoga poses causes the muscles to lengthen, resulting in a leaner look.
  • Encourages Detoxification: Gently stretching your muscles and joints encourages optimum blood supply to various parts of the body. This ensures that all parts of the body have been nourished with oxygen rich blood which in turn helps in flushing out toxins. This leads to various benefits including delayed aging, increased energy and remarkable zest in life.

Some Notable Benefits of Pilates

Notable Benefits of Pilates
  • Develop a Strong Core: If you are looking for ways to develop a strong “core” that is practically the center of the body, perhaps you should opt for pilates. The core consists of the abdominal muscles and the muscles near the spine.
  • Evenly Conditioned Body: Many of the most conventional workout routines focus on the same muscles. This causes stronger muscles to get stronger and the weak muscles to get weaker. Such muscular imbalance increases the risk of injuries and chronic back pain.
  • Safe Exercise: Many of the pilates exercises are practiced in sitting or reclining positions that feature low weight bearing. These exercises are incredibly safe to practice, putting minimal impact on your joints.
  • Improves Posture: A strong core eventually leads to better posture, causing one to look healthier and leaner. Pilates trains the body to work with perfect strength and harmony.
  • Boosts Energy Levels: Tired of day dreaming at work? Perhaps you are in need of an energy boost. Fortunately, pilates get the blood flowing throughout the body that eventually stimulates the muscles and spine, resulting in increased energy levels.
  • Weight Loss: It’s no secret people who practice pilates regularly are likely to end up with leaner, stronger and more toned muscles. Pilates improves balance, resulting in a graceful posture and a leaner appearance. Eventually, all these things add up to reduced weight, helping you look and feel fit.

Differences Between Yoga and Pilates

Still stuck on the decision of whether you should opt for yoga or pilates. Here’s how the two differ from each other:

Unlike Pilates, yoga aims to bring out a more spiritual element to the mat and is deeply rooted in meditative practice. Apart from physical fitness, yoga aims to improve emotional and spiritual health, making the activity incredibly therapeutic, hence if you are on the lookout for internal peace, perhaps you should choose yoga.

Spirit Of Yoga

While yoga mainly concentrates on increasing flexibility and strength, pilates pays more attention to strengthening the core and abdominal muscles first and then on achieving symmetrical musculature.

In pilates, many of the exercises are performed in resting position, such as while sitting or lying down. These movements are designed to defy gravity. Practitioners must then try to engage their abdominal muscles to lift themselves up.

On the other hand, many of the poses in yoga are performed while standing, rooting down into the earth. The primary goal of yoga besides improving spine alignment is to concentrate on breathing.

In pilates, every moment is initiated from the center, extending towards the limbs. On the other hand, yoga concentrates on breathing and then focuses on adopting a pose.

Pilates Workout

Yoga incorporates various deep breathing techniques. In fact, some poses require you to breathe only through the nose. This is more commonly known as ujjayi breath, and this eventually results in better respiratory health and helps eliminate anxiety and insomnia.

Sometimes, practicing even the simplest breathing techniques can help calm the mind when you are overwhelmed. On the other hand, pilates only requires you to breath in and out through the nose and mouth.

Which Is Better: Yoga Or Pilates?

Here’s the thing, pilates is great for people who want to achieve toned muscles and strengthen their abdominal muscles. On the other hand, yoga is beneficial for all kinds of people, regardless of their age, health and fitness level.

Yoga Vs. Pilates

Practically anybody can enroll in a yoga class and benefit from its range of physical, mental and spiritual benefits. It is imperative you seek the advice of an expert before you drastically alter your exercise routine. Your fitness instructor will be happy to design a program according to your health needs and fitness level.

The Spirituality Aspect of Yoga

The origin of yoga itself is spiritual as it was originally used to carry energy throughout the body, causing the practitioner to feel calmer and anxiety free. While many people opt for yoga as a means to tone their bodies and adopt a healthier lifestyle, other people opt for a deeper pathway that leads to spiritual enlightenment. Here are some of the spiritual aspects of yoga:

Spirituality Aspect of Yoga

Cultivates Awareness

When practicing yoga, yogis eventually start becoming more aware of their spirit or the energy existing within. Awareness is highly critical to your yoga experience, helping you learn more about the way you act and react to different situations.

Giving Up Control

Let’s face it, in order to be happy and content, you need to realize you cannot control everything in life. There will always be that one person who talks to you rudely on the bus or a dog that always barks on the street. Yoga is all about letting go of your negative energies.

Developing a Quiet Mind

At times, it is important we quieted our minds and stop analyzing situations by simply letting it be. Yoga allows you to finally stop worrying and look at things from a better perspective. It offers people time and space to connect deeply with themselves and experience the joys of the world around them.

Spiritual Outlook

Contrary to what many people believe, yoga is not a religion, rather it is unison of the soul, body and mind. This allows people to use their abilities to the best potential.

What Is Yoga Good For?

Here are just a few things that yoga is good for:

Increasing Flexibility With Yoga

Weight Loss

Obesity and excess weight gain is a sign of imbalance in your everyday life. Fortunately, including yoga in your life enables you to develop a deep sense of relaxation, helping you destress and lose weight naturally.

Increasing Flexibility

Can’t reach your toes? It does not matter how tight your muscles are, practicing yoga will loosen your muscles, helping you become more flexible. Additionally, yoga also stretches the soft tissues, tendons and ligaments, increasing your range of motion, allowing you to move more freely.

Lowering Blood Pressure

The deep breathing techniques in yoga will increase your lung capacity, boosting your stamina and endurance level. Additionally, practicing calming yoga asanas slows down the heart rate, resulting in low blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Finding Inner Peace

Guess what, you do not necessarily have to climb mountains and visit holy shrines if you want to experience inner peace. Inner peace can be found within so take a mini vacation by enrolling yourself in a yoga class.

No Injuries

The best thing about yoga is you do not have to worry about painful injuries. With the help of yoga, you can learn to connect with your soul, body and mind without straining your muscles.

Yoga and Pilates Equipment

As with any sport, it is essential you buy the necessary equipment before you start.

Essential Yoga Equipment

Here’s everything you need for your first yoga class:

Yoga Lifestyle
  • Yoga Mat: You will obviously need something to practice on, whether you decide to master yoga poses at home or at the gym.
  • Yoga Towel: Yoga is a sweaty activity, not having a thick and absorbent yoga towel may cause you to skid or slip during exercising. Additionally, yoga towels keep the bacteria away from your skin.
  • Yoga Block: A yoga block is an especially handy tool for beginners that will help you get into and maintain the right positions when you are not quite flexible enough to reach the floor.
  • Yoga Strap: Similar to the yoga block, the yoga strap acts as additional support for beginners when they are not flexible enough to achieve a pose. Apart from compensating for your lack of flexibility, these props also offer extra safety.
  • Right Clothing: Opt for breezy clothing that is not too baggy or loose so you can adopt difficult poses without pulling on your sleeve.

Essential Pilates Equipment

Opting for Pilates Instead? Here’s what you will need:

Essential Pilates Equipment
  • Pilates Mat: Same as the yoga mat, you need something to practice on.
  • Comfortable Clothing: Opt for breezy fitness outfits that will allow you full range of motion. Avoid clothes that are baggy and loose.
  • Fitness Ball: A fitness ball, also known as a stability ball, can improve flexibility, balance and strength. This tool is especially handy for beginners.
  • Foam Roller: Foam rollers are handy tools if you want to improve blood circulation and activate deep muscles while exercising.
  • Exercise Bands and Rings: Sometimes also referred to as resistance bands, these exercise bands provide resistance while exercising and toning muscles.


Whether you opt for yoga or for pilates is entirely your choice. However, you probably won’t be able to find as diverse and effective a workout as yoga. Good luck!

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