How many times Pilates teachers or Pilates practitioners have to answer this question: Is Pilates like Yoga? Of course not. Even in California, the fitness land, there are still people that don’t know what’s Pilates and especially that can be done also with machines.
The majority of the gyms offer classes of Yoga, Pilates etc.. so even if you have never practiced Pilates in a studio, it’s possibile that you have taken a Mat Pilates class, but still somehow there’s no a clear idea.
Both Pilates and Yoga require focus and good intention, and you can practice on the floor with a mat. Both require attention to the breathing. If you practice one or the other with persistency, mind and body will have multiple benefits, like metabolism improvement, better posture, better stress control. But mostly you are going to have a great body!
What are the differences then?
First, Yoga is far more ancient. In a class you might find some rituals, some chanting. Positions are practiced and held to achieve meditation. Even if in all the years Yoga has been changed in something more athletic and physical, it is, in its authentic meaning, a discipline that will accompany you to follow an interior spiritual path.
Pilates is quite a modern discipline. Created by a futuristic man, Joseph H. Pilates and his wife Clara. Pilates is a physical system composed by almost 600 exercise repertoire, to be performed in a specific way, with a specific breathing, precision and awareness. The exercises were so innovative for the time that they are perfect for gymnastics, dancers and athletes in general and in the latest decades it has been chosen by movies actress, models. Because yes, it will sculpt your body.
Pilates really is not spiritual but in the essence of Joseph. Pilates’ work, there is the will to suggest a certain lifestyle: balanced, controlled and conscious. Like the fundamentals principles behind the Pilates method. In short, the old latin way of saying. “Mens sana in corpore sano”.
Joseph Pilates knew and practiced Yoga himself, like he practiced diving, boxing, gymnastic..This is one of the reasons why Pilates is so complete in the results.
So which one is to choose?
I’d be unfair if I told you to choose one and not the other. Try both. And try different teachers. Some people are inclined for Yoga and others are made for Pilates. I need both.
There are definitely more specific things that can be said, but I am will probably write some other posts about it. So try a Yoga class and try a Pilates class and see how you feel afterward.