Pilates Workout. Photo Credit FitSugar

If you’re the type who doesn’t like doing all the cardio workout sessions and strength training workout programs but would still like to maintain a healthy fitness regimen, a holistic mind-body workout programs are more appropriate for you. Yoga and Pilates became popular among the health-conscious of us because of its power to make your body long and lean while promoting inner peace, a product of its “mindful movements”.

More often than not, Yoga and Pilates are being described in many comparable ways. True enough, they belong in the same practice but there are a lot of differences between the two. There are various types of Yoga and Pilates as well; as a result, they differ in many ways.

Mind-Body Approach. Both Yoga and Pilates focuses on how the mind and body are connected. They both establish this connection by introducing a calm workout environment, movements that help the practitioner relax and focus on poses and controlled breathing. While both establish the connection between the mind and body, Yoga throws one more feature into the mix – the spirit. Yoga endorses meditation with its proper breathing exercises that relieves stress and allows one to be calm. The mind-body-spirit connection is the foundation of Yoga.

Origin. Yoga originated from India more than 5,000 years ago. The practice evolved over the centuries and branched out into various types such as Ashtanga which involves synchronizing the breath with postures that produces internal heat that detoxifies muscles and organs, Vinyasa which is fast-paced as compared to other forms of yoga, Bikram which is ideally practiced in a heated room of 40°C with a humidity of 40%, and Kripalu which emphasizes “flowing the flow” of prana.

Pilates, on the other hand, is a much younger practice. It was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s to rehabilitate injured soldiers from World War I. The art of dancing is what made Pilates popular; it uses various movements faster than Yoga’s to develop a graceful, fluid rhythm, similar to dancing. It has quickly gained a following among dancers all over the world.

Target Areas. While Yoga and Pilates use movements that are intertwined with breathing, each has specific target areas. Pilates is focused on the muscles of the abdominal wall and may help build abdominal strength by as much as 20% as its movements are centered on building core muscles. Yoga, on the other hand, is more focused on toning larger areas of the body other than the core. It targets legs, arms and abdomen as well due to its sun salutations and other poses.

So which is better for you? Practice Yoga if your goal is to achieve an overall balance of the mind, body and spirit. If you are aimed at enriching your lives, then Yoga is right for you with its breathing techniques that will help you relax and focus on your inner peace. It will help you manage stress and gain flexibility in one go. Practice Yoga if you want to achieve an overall toned body and if you would like to strengthen the larger sections of your body. It is recommended to those who has had their first heart attack, has high blood pressure or diabetes.

Pilates, however, is good if you’re a dancer or an athlete who wants to elevate your fitness program. If your primary goal is a solid core and a noticeable set of ab muscles, then Pilates is right for you. Pilates is designed for younger and more active practitioners.