Yoga vs. Pilates: Is One Better Than the Other?

Most people who are only starting out on their exercise routine would opt to hit the gym first to see if they can sustain the habit. However, there are some who can’t do so for a variety of reasons, including the fact that most gym exercises bore them to death after weeks of doing them.

Maybe you are one of these people who cannot stand the same old stuff you do at the gym. Or maybe you just want to inject something new into your exercise routine because your body is so used to doing 100 bench presses and side lunges.

Thankfully, most gyms offer classes of different kinds, ranging from martial arts (boxing, Muay Thai) to the fun ones (Zumba, striptease) that would surely kill your burnout. The most famous of these offered classes are yoga and Pilates. They are so widely known that even those who have never set foot in the gym know them.

But only a handful understand the differences of both routines. After all, they really are similar—both exercises require equipment, focuses on the unity of the mind and body, and heavily relies on diaphragmatic breathing to maximize their benefits.

So if you are the type of person who wants to know which class to take between the two, this article is for you.

Yoga

The origins of yoga were traced from the Hindus, who use it as a way to practice their ideals and beliefs and as a way to honor their god, Brahman. Simply put, this practice is heavily rooted from spirituality that is considered part of human life.

Today, there are a lot of centers and schools of thought that emphasizes different styles and ideologies, but its goal remains: to improve the overall health and well-being of the individual using different postures, breathing techniques, and meditation.

Pros

  • It targets not only your physical health, but also your mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
  • It is an effective weight loss program (you can lose about 200-630 Calories per hour) not because of the poses and static movements, but because it makes you more in tune with what your body really needs, particularly in nutrients.
  • It is a good way to relieve stress, empty the mind, and improve concentration.
  • Most yogis (term used to describe yoga practitioners) claim that their gained a positive outlook in life after a while of attending classes.

Cons

  • It takes time for weight loss to occur. The aim of yoga, after all, is not losing weight, but to align the body, mind, and spirit.
  • Those who have existing medical conditions like high blood pressure, glaucoma, and back injuries are highly discouraged to try yoga (or at least some poses that would aggravate them).
  • Because no organization regulates the practice of yoga, anyone can have the chance to become a teacher, which can lead to reduced quality of education.
  • According to an article published by the New York Times, some hyper-flexibility poses brought nerve and brain problems, with one yogi reported to experience stroke after trying the wheel pose.

Who can try it?

In general, yoga is recommended for those who want to improve their strength and flexibility by paying attention to all parts of the body and incorporating stretching exercises. It can also be practiced by people who want to add the spiritual aspect of their life into their routine exercise humdrum.

Pilates

This craze went way back in the 1920’s when Joseph Pilates and his wife Clara taught different body conditioning exercises in their gym to improve core strength and to alleviate injuries. What made this method popular back then (aside from the benefits) is the apparatus he uses to rehabilitate their visitors.

Because of its efficacy especially among entertainers, the media paid attention. The Pilates method continues to take the world by storm thanks to celebrities, both then and now, who adopt it in their exercise routines.

Pros

  • It focuses on your core muscles which are your main go-to when it comes to everyday activities.
  • It straightens injuries both on the core and lower back which is why most athletes and dancers do this; even orthopedics recommend them to patients who suffer from lower back pain.
  • When paired with a healthy diet, you can lose weight as much as 270 to 460 calories per hour depending on the intensity of the routines.
  • By upping the intensity, Pilates can give you the six-pack abs you have always wanted to have.

Cons

  • Some Pilates movements require you to have a tool (like a resistance band) or a full-on equipment which can be expensive.
  • It only focuses on large muscle groups—core, glutes, back, and inner arms—instead of the whole body.
  • Because there is no uniform method of teaching Pilates, some were free to add routines which were proven to aggravate back injuries further.
  • Diabetic patients should consult their doctor first before doing this workout.

Who can try it?

Pilates is perfect for those who heavily rely on their strength for work because it develops your endurance and stamina. And because it focuses on the core, you can develop your abs more efficiently and effectively.

Just like other exercises, each program is developed differently and must be tailor-made based on what your body needs. If you are still unsure as to what class to take between the two, feel free to try both. Test the waters, and see which workout would provide the benefits you want.

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Wendy has made a career from blogging about the newest fitness trends in the market. From New Mexico, Wendy has been passionate about health since the early age of 11, when she competed in local state Gymnastic competitions.
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