Yoga or Pilates: Which is Better? Spoiler Alert: Both!

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As a personal trainer who teaches and practices both Pilates and Yoga, I am often asked which is better. My answer: both disciplines can have amazing effects on your body and mind, although the benefits differ.

Yoga

Yoga on the beach
Yoga on the beach

Yoga is well-known for its relaxing, meditative stress-busting effects. Practicing regularly can increase your flexibility, balance and strength, and some types such as Vinyasa or Power can even have a cardiovascular benefit. Sun Salutations, often used as a warm up, are particularly good for building strength in both upper and lower body muscles. Boot Camp enthusiasts trying Yoga might notice a lot of similarity between Sun Salutations and Burpees.

Pilates

Pilates on the water
Pilates on the water

For developing core strength, it’s tough to beat Pilates. Adding Pilates exercises to your workout can result in a definite improvement in abdominal strength after as little as 36 weeks. This reinforcement of the core musculature can improve posture, balance and stamina.


I often say Yoga and Pilates compliment one another — like mustard and mayonnaise 

Yoga and Pilates have a lot in common too. Both techniques utilize deep breathing to create awareness and increase focus. Flexibility can be improved with either exercise as well, although the methods are different. There’s a flowing component to both Yoga and Pilates that involves smooth transitions between exercises, and both can be done with nothing but a mat.

image: canstockphoto
image: canstockphoto

Personally, I think it’s best to do both. First-time Yoga practitioners who have experience in Pilates often have a better understanding of alignment in their poses, and Pilates beginners who do Yoga will relate to the precision and control needed to get through a demanding set of Hundreds.

I often say Yoga and Pilates compliment one another — like mustard and mayonnaise. To use another food comparison, a varied exercise diet is better than one dedicated to only one form — just like a varied diet is better than one that consists of only a few foods. Kale is great, but does that mean we should turn our noses up at pomegranates, avocados and almonds?

The simple answer is, both Yoga and Pilates are fantastic forms of exercise. There’s no need to feel overly “loyal” to one or the other. Instead, include some of both in your daily routine and reap the myriad of benefits!

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