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Pilates vs Yoga – Same Same but Different

Last year, on a random burst of exploration, I explored a local park with two friends at 11pm. We looked around and found some tennis courts as well as green pine trees. There was nobody else to see us acting silly, so we also decided to lay on the cold concrete sidewalk and look at the stars, and later dance around trying to hold balancing poses. Needless to say, I have some pretty funny photos from that spontaneous evening, and a new love for nature yoga! Before, I couldn’t say if we were doing yoga or pilates or some combination of the two. But now, having a little experience with both pilates and yoga, I can tell you some differences. And, I can recommend one or the other depending on what kind of workout you’re looking for!

Let’s Talk Similarities:

There’s a reason why most people don’t know the difference between pilates vs yoga. In fact, many use the terms interchangeably! (The horror…) This isn’t really a surprise because both yoga and pilates look kind of similar. They are exercises usually done at a studio class that promote flexibility without being too intense. Both are easy on the joints and use body weight to make you feel the burn. Read on to find out what makes each  of these elegant exercises unique!

… And Some Differences:

  • Pilates: From an exercise point of view, pilates can be seen as a little bit more “intense” than yoga. It’s good for increasing your strength, balance, and posture because it uses a lot of movement instead of static exercises. In fact, pilates is sometimes used as part of physical therapy or rehabilitation after injury. Kind of like barre, pilates uses little movements that work every muscle! This exercise is more likely to include some other equipment besides just a mat.
  • Yoga: While pilates is all about working out, yoga is more of a mindfulness practice that also happens to be fitness-y. Yoga includes lots of deep breathing and balance as you hold a position for a long time (think fancy positions like these). Because yoga is very focused on holistic health, it also sometimes helps with depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure. But, following along at a yoga studio might be a little difficult if you’re not the most flexible.  Lots of poses are based on mobility, especially the fun or artsy ones!

Combining the Two:

Just like the modern “portmanteaus” of cronut, brunch, or even hangry, yoga vs pilates can be made into yoga plus pilates. This is called pilo-yoga or “piyo”, and is a mix up of the best of both worlds. Basically a bunch of strengthening poses that are low impact (good for cranky knees) that also boost your mood and give you a good workout!

Now that you know all about pilates and yoga, why don’t you give your preferred on a try and let us know how it goes? 🙂 Just find the best activities we have available on Lyvly – use the filter to find your faves!


Pictures by: Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design

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