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Pilates or Yoga….which one is better? Which one should I choose? I have been asked these questions numerous times over the 25 years I have taught group exercise.
For years, Pilates and Yoga have been grouped in the same category of exercise….the mind body category. If you talk to a devout Yogi or a devout Pilates person, each one will say their practice is better than the other. However, I am of a different opinion. When you look closely at both forms of exercise, there are similarities and differences that everybody needs.
So lets break it down and maybe you can decide what is the best choice for you.


Similarities between Yoga and Pilates:


1.Both forms of exercise have been around for many years and have proven themselves beneficial. Yoga has been around for over 5000 years. Pilates has been around for about 100 years. They have shown they are not a simple fad.
2.Both forms of exercise improve strength, flexibility, balance and posture awareness.
3.Both forms of exercise can be modified for the most deconditioned or advanced for the most athletic.
4.They both have a very strong mind body connection. You have to concentrate on each exercise to truly benefit from it physically.
5.Pilates and Yoga can be done with minimal equipment, so it can be conveniently done in your home.


Differences between Yoga and Pilates:


1. Pilates is more focused on building core strength and power while yoga traditionally focuses on flexibility and meditation.
2.Pilates can be done using equipment like a Reformer or a Cadillac or it can be conveniently done on a mat. Yoga traditionally uses a mat only. The Pilates equipment can make it easier for the beginner exerciser to participate.
3.While both forms of exercise have proven to be rehabilitative, Pilates is usually used to rehabilitate someone physically while Yoga is typically used to rehabilitate someone mentally. The fact that Pilates emphasizes rebalancing muscles and building core strength, makes it a form of exercise that many physical therapists use to help rehabilitate their patients following a physical injury. On the other hand, the meditative nature of yoga is typically recommended for individuals dealing with a lot of stress or anxiety. It is traditionally used to help mentally rehabilitate participants.
4. Pilates can be done in a class setting with 10-30 other participants or privately with just you and your certified instructor. While yoga can also be taught in privately, it is typically taught in a group setting.

Those are just a few of the many differences and similarities between yoga and Pilates. Both forms of exercise offer great benefit to its participants. However, not everyone is a fan of both. The best way to decide is to go and try both types of classes.
Personally, I make sure I include both Pilates and Yoga in my exercise routine. When I am practicing both regularly, my body feels stronger and my mind feels clearer.
As the owner and sole instructor at ABS Pilates in Columbus, Ohio, I primarily teach Pilates because my main goal with my clients is to help them build strength, flexibility, balance and posture awareness in a safe, fun environment. However, I incorporate the meditative nature of Yoga in all classes and sessions I teach because a work out is not truly complete unless you combine the mind and the body. And in my experience a lot of the breathing, meditative components of Yoga enhances the concentration needed in Pilates.
As with all forms of exercise, always consult your physician before starting a new exercise program.
Contact ABS Pilates today to find out more about the services I provide to make you stronger mentally and physically.

Amanda Smith - Licensed Physical Therapist, certified Pilates instructor, ACE certified Group Exercise Instructor, ACE certified Health Coach, Certified McKenzie Therapist. Ready to help you become stronger and healthier in a safe, fun and holistic manner.