Everyone is talking about fitness these days and when it comes to fitness, yoga and Pilates are all the rage. Turn on the TV and you are bound to see people talking about either of them. Read any fitness magazine and you are bound to find lengthy articles on yoga or Pilates. While everyone except you seems to be busy practicing either yoga or Pilates, you are here trying to figure out the difference between them. So, should it be yoga or should it be Pilates for you?
Let’s begin with the difference in origins of both fitness regimes. Yoga, which originated in Northern India, has been around for quite a long time. The history of yoga dates back to almost five thousand years, whereas Pilates is just 80 years old. It was introduced by a German athlete named Joseph Pilates.
Another major difference is that yoga, unlike Pilates, is not just a fitness regime but a way of life. Though opinions have changed about yoga being a way of life (as many people perceive yoga to be limited to stretching and breathing), the ancient Rishis took yoga as their guiding principle in life, as their lifestyle. However, this is not to say that Pilates is inferior. It is a fitness regime that works on your entire body and conditions it.
Likewise, the purposes of Pilates and yoga, though similar in many ways, have some major differences. In Pilates, the focus on developing the core strength inside the body and elongating the spine. It works towards enhancing strength and spreading awareness on proper posture. Yoga, on the other hand, primarily emphasizes on the union of the body with the mind and the spirit. It aims at overall well-being of the practitioner and not just physical well-being.
You might also be surprised to find that though Pilates and yoga both focus on breathing and concentration; they are different in subtle ways. In Pilates, you inhale via your nose and exhale with your mouth whereas breathing process is quite different in yoga; you inhale and exhale solely via your nostrils. And of course, there are other less important differences between yoga and Pilates like the mats used and use of props; yoga requires you to use certain props for proper alignment whereas you won’t be needing any when doing Pilates.
So which one will it be? Both are immensely beneficial; with yoga, you will be getting the ultimate tool for mind-body-spirit union. Diseases will be kept at bay and you will experience greater peace of mind. And if you want a stronger body with a flat abdomen (who wouldn’t want that?) and a strong back, Pilates is the fitness regime for you. The decision rests entirely upon you. You can’t possibly go wrong with either of them. As aforementioned, both bring about immense benefits and have no side effects, if you practice them properly. So, don’t forget to look for the benefits you want when choosing between them. Or there does not even have to be a “versus”; you can practice yoga and Pilates combined! Imagine what the powerful combination could do for you!