Yoga vs Pilates – surely they’re much the same? Not exactly, both have numerous health benefits and practising a combination of both can make you stronger and more supple. But if you had to choose just one exercise class, which is best? Here’s our T3 guide to help you decide between yoga and Pilates.
The main differences between yoga and Pilates are the breathing, the end goal and the language used in classes. Let’s take a closer look at both techniques, before you decide which exercise class to try first.
Yoga vs Pilates: Breathing techniques
Pilates and yoga do use exercises that appear to be the same but they are practised slightly differently, usually in terms of the breathing.
Pilates breathing technique: When you practise Pilates, you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. You practise something called thoracic or lateral breathing for stabilisation of the core muscles. This involves locking the core muscles and expanding the rib cage.
Yoga breathing technique: In yoga, you practise deep abdominal or three-part breath which uses the diaphragm.
Yoga vs Pilates: Goals
Yoga goals: Although yoga has recently become mainstream, it was once seen mainly as a spiritual activity. The traditional reason to practise yoga postures was to make the body supple to be able to sit comfortably for meditation.
Yoga helps to remove physical tension in your body so that you can work on removing the mental fluctuations of the mind through meditation. The end goal of yoga is to achieve spiritual awakening.
Pilates goals: Pilates also works on physical tension and aims to release it but for the purposes of strengthening your physical body.
Yoga vs Pilates: Different words
You will find that if you attend a yoga or Pilates class, the ‘shapes’ you practise are similar. However, the language used couldn’t be more different. Pilates uses the English language, whereas yoga uses Sanskrit, an ancient language from India. The words are simply worlds apart.
If you attend a yoga class and you recognise the ‘shapes’ from your Pilates class, don’t be confused if you suddenly can’t understand the words!
Does yoga or Pilates burn more calories?
Many of us take up a new exercise class as a way to lose weight and tone up. So which technique burns the most calories?
Yoga class: You should be able to burn 200-600 calories in an average yoga class. The exact amount depends on the style of yoga you are practising and your starting weight.
Pilates class: If your main goal is to lose weight, choose Pilates, as it is a tougher workout. The tougher the workout, the more weight you should lose.
As a rough guide, a person weighing 130lb will burn around 177 calories during an hour of beginner’s Pilates and 354 calories at an advanced level, depending on how much effort is put into the class.
From these figures, it seems that yoga and Pilates burn roughly the same calories. However there’s evidence to suggest yoga slows your metabolism, reducing your…