Time and again, there will be confusion about Yoga and Pilates and whether or not they’re one and the same. Most definitely, they’re not. However, there are key points that make them nearly synonymous. Perhaps, the most obvious is the fact that they’re both very popular as a means of achieving physical and spiritual balance. Both are also widely accepted across cultures from Oriental to Western and their bedrocks have a universality that attract people from all walks of life and ages. However, there will be stark differences between these two disciplines in between their similarities.
Yoga is, of course, the oldest and best proven way of optimizing physical and spiritual health for every individual taking heed to its principles. People who don’t know much about it often have the misconception that it’s merely a form of physical exercise to keep the body fit. However, yoga goes way beyond that. It is a complete package that brings physical and spiritual perfection through specific routines and meditation that promote practices and conditions contributory to man’s well-being. This package can include anything from improving muscle strength and tone to personal hygiene. This is how wide yoga is and its effects are most definitely time-tested.
While there are many exercise routines being promoted all over the media from aerobics to weight training, they’re all repetitive in nature. Yoga isn’t and this is what sets it apart from the rest. This oriental discipline is simply concerned about focusing on the body by stretching or flexing it to improve blood circulation and, thus, provide ample nourishment to the internal organs. Combined with Prana or life force energy, which is also supplied to the body by doing these routines, the person is expected to enjoy an overall improvement in health that may manifest in a myriad of ways from soothed nerves to improved digestive functions. Aside from stretching and flexing, yoga also espouses the value of proper breathing and relaxation as key to achieving both physical and spiritual well-being.
Pilates exercises are basically patterned after yoga where full body control is essential. However, unlike yoga, Pilates needs both a a mat and specialized machines that aim to ultimately improve overall body strength and health. While yoga is all about maintaining that physical and inner peace, Pilates focuses more on perfecting body states and motions so that with proper practice, you achieve better posture, improved muscle strength and tone and generally more graceful body movement.
Because Pilates is a form of yoga, two terms are closely related although not entirely similar. Even the difference between yoga and Pilates mats is quite obvious which means a different approach is used for each of the two. Either way, one need not necessarily choose one over the other as it is very possible and, perhaps, healthier to do both.