Pilates vs. YogaPosted on Jul 23rd 2010 11:00AM by Lisa Johnson
- Are you detail oriented? If yes, steer toward Pilates.
- Do you like to move quietly and observe the world around you? If yes, steer toward yoga.
- Do you like a more choreographed workout? If yes, steer toward Pilates.
- Do you like to explore poses? If yes, steer toward yoga.
- Were you an athlete when you were younger? If yes, steer toward Pilates.
- Do you have an excellent sense of balance? If yes, steer toward yoga.
- Do you get back pain? If yes, steer toward Pilates.
- Would you like to really focus on flexibility? If yes, steer toward yoga.
Joe Pilates was a yoga practitioner before he developed his own exercise program. So there are actually a lot of similarities between the two. For instance, the exact same movement is called a called a cobra in yoga and a swan in Pilates.
Pilates, in general, is for detail-oriented people who would like to develop body awareness, core strength and flexibility. The class pace is quick: You'll do 40 to 50 different exercises in a one-hour class. The movements have a steady flow to them, and many are adapted from when Joe Pilates trained the elite ballerinas of New York City in the 1930s and 1940s, so there is a choreographic element to them.
Top instructors complete a 500-hour certification and are well versed in anatomy, physiology and working with physical limitations like joint surgeries and other injuries. I've been an instructor for 14 years, and we are particularly good at helping or resolving back pain issues. Pilates instructors can work with anyone from a 96-year-old house-bound great-grandma (one of my former clients) to professional athletes such as basketballer Shaquille O'Neal.
Yoga, in general, really focuses on flexibility and body awareness. Standard classes tend to last 90 minutes, and, frequently, there is an order to the exercises that clients repeat, exploring and improving their poses over time. There is a wide variety of yoga classes, some that are meditative and slow moving and others that are steaming hot (90 to 110 degrees!) and flow swiftly from pose to pose. You can be extremely deconditioned or a highly skilled athlete (Pittsburgh Steelers) and still get a great workout.
Top yoga instructors have studied under other gurus to learn their skill and completed a lengthy certification program. They can take years to develop their craft and are, just like their students, always improving their practice.
To learn more about yoga, check out our Yoga Pose of the Week.