One of the most common questions we get asked is ‘What’s the difference between Pilates and Yoga?’. With so many variations of both programs out there today, and even the fusion of the two (any takers for yogalates?!), they are fundamentally different and can serve different purposes depending on what you’d like to achieve. Here’s out attempt to explain the difference…

  • Their origin is different:
    • Pilates originated in the 1960’s, after German physical trainer Joseph Pilates emigrated to the USA and started working with the New York City Ballet.  His method was a means of strengthening and conditioning the dancers his worked with to withstand the rigours of professional dancing. The Pilates method uses a series of exercises to increase strength and stability, either only on a mat or utilising equipment such as Reformer machines to increase the resistance placed on the muscles.
    • Yoga is a combined mind and body practice that has its origins from India more than 5000 years ago. There are many different forms of yoga that can range from being a gentle practice focusing on meditation to a challenging strength building workout. However, all share a common focus on building strength, flexibility and a calm mind, working towards self-enlightenment.
  • Their purpose is different:
    • Although there is a lot of overlap and both yoga and pilates are great programs for improving well being and general fitness, they can serve fundamentally different purposes. Modern forms of both programs have evolved, with there now being large variations in the classes depending on the instructor and purpose of the class.
    • At Waverton Physio, we use Pilates as either a rehabilitation method for people with injuries such as back pain, or people primarily looking to strengthen the body and ‘core’ in a precise manner.  Pilates is not intended to be a ‘relaxing’ form of exercise but rather a method to gain improvements in strength and function. In our classes, there is little emphasis on the mind/body connection.
    • Yoga then plays an important role in gaining flexibility and mobility whilst focusing on the mind/body connection.

Which one should I do?

Here at Waverton Physio we offer both yoga (Hatha and Iyengar) and pilates classes. If you are recovering from an injury or looking to specifically target your abdominal muscles, we recommend starting with pilates. If you are looking to improve your mobility or looking to improve your positive thinking and mediation, then yoga is for you!
If you’re unsure which would be best suited to you, feel free to have a chat to one of our Physios!