Dear Robin: What’s the difference between Yoga and Pilates? Is one better than the other?
Robin: Hmmmm……. asking if Yoga is better than Pilates (or vice versa) is like asking if shrimp is tastier than lobster. Both are yummy, but have different textures and tastes!
Let’s talk about Yoga first.
Yoga is an ancient practice of physical and mental training. Most gyms feature classes that focus on the physical postures, such as Downward Dog.
Yoga can be calming, relaxing and invigorating. Some people feel that Yoga improves concentration, flexibility, strength, balance, circulation and respiration.
Joseph Pilates created Pilates mat work during his time as a medic in World War I. Over time, Pilates can strengthen core muscles, improve posture, increase flexibility and build pelvic stability. Pilates exercise requires mental focus, concentration, control and the ability to maintain a neutral spine while moving the arms and legs.
To summarize, both Yoga and Pilates can be categorized as “mind body” exercise practices. Yoga focuses more on dynamic movements that transition into static postures. Pilates mat work is a series of fluid movements that target the core or “powerhouse”. Both practices are beneficial. I will say that if you are short on time, Pilates can better fit into a busy schedule. The average Yoga class is at least 60 to 90 minutes, while the basic Pilates mat moves are perfect for a 30 minute session.