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What are the differences between Pilates and yoga?

We put together a short summary of the key differences between Pilates and yoga:

  1. Origins: Yoga originated in ancient India and has a spiritual component, while Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century as a form of physical conditioning.

  2. Equipment: Yoga is typically done on a mat and does not require any special equipment, while Pilates may be done on a mat or with specialized equipment such as a reformer or Cadillac. Read more about the differences between reformer and mat Pilates here.

  3. Focus: Yoga emphasizes the mind-body connection and the cultivation of inner peace, while Pilates focuses more on physical strength and flexibility.

  4. Poses: Yoga features a variety of poses, including standing poses, balancing poses, and inversions, while Pilates primarily consists of exercises that are done lying down or sitting to maximize and target various muscle groups. Check out our Pilates workout videos.

  5. Breath: Yoga emphasizes controlled breathing as a way to calm the mind and relax the body, while breath work is not a central component of Pilates.

  6. Flow: Yoga classes often follow a flowing sequence of poses. Although Pilates tend to focus on individual exercises, good Pilates instructors perfect their flow and sequencing to create an harmonic workout. 

  7. Impact: Yoga can range from low-impact to high-impact, depending on the style and intensity, while Pilates is generally a low-impact form of exercise.

  8. Modifications: Both yoga classes and Pilates offer modifications for different fitness levels. In addition to modifications, Pilates classes may also offer different levels of resistance to accommodate different scenarios..

  9. Attire: Yoga is typically done in comfortable, stretchy clothing, while Pilates may require more form-fitting clothing to allow the instructor to see proper form -- but it is totally up to you!

  10. Benefits: Both yoga and Pilates offer numerous physical and mental health benefits, including improved flexibility, strength, and balance, as well as reduced stress and improved well-being.

In summary, both Pilates and yoga offer numerous health benefits. Ultimately, the choice between the depends on your personal preferences and fitness goals.  

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