Many people tend to think that yoga and pilates are two similar forms of exercise solely intended for women to do various movements that shape their bodies. And even though both yoga and pilates do help women get a more toned figure, they are not solely intended for women and they are much more than just physical exercise.
Yoga was born out of thousands of years old yogic philosophies in India intended for transcending to higher consciousness. As much as it has been advertised as a form of physical exercise in the West, yoga is more a spiritual practice with a metaphysical component that teaches the individual to raise their awareness. A disciplined yoga practice involving meditation would eventually lead to a calmer mind, freer spirit, and a more in-tune and toned body.
Pilates, on the other hand, originated at the beginning of the 20th century. Joseph Pilates, an athlete who tried and tested every form of exercise known to mankind, merged Eastern and Western principles of health and fitness to find pilates – a new form of exercise initially taught to war veterans to rehabilitate their bodies back to health. Today, pilates allows individuals to use their bodies to their full potential through strength-training. Although pilates lacks a meditative component, it does bring the mind into the picture, as do most exercise routines, allowing the force of the mind to fuel the body.
Depending on the kind of yoga class you take, you will work on all the muscles in your body equally, learn more about breathwork, and allow yourself to “go with the flow” as the teacher will be leading the class freely, offering a different experience each time. With pilates, you’ll find yourself in a more structured class, focusing more on core strength and aligning your spine.
So the question is not whether you should do yoga or pilates, but what kind of practice do you want to bring into your life?