What is the difference between yoga and Pilates?

What is Yoga?

The word yoga itself means union, union with the divine, god, unconditional love, universal consciousness, our heart centre or whatever word you choose to use to describe spirit. Yoga is an ancient system of physical postures, breathing techniques, chanting and meditation; practiced to connect and align the body, mind and spirit in order to transform physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Our physical, mental and spiritual bodies become misaligned when we are not listening and connected to ourselves. Yoga is the practice of realigning ourselves with our true nature to restore wellbeing in all three bodies. Yoga means to engage, to get involved, to participate and to connect. Yoga is the active participation of engaging with your body, mind, spirit and the world to create relationship and harmony.


What is Pilates?

Pilates aims to strengthen certain muscles groups, particularly the deeper ‘core’ muscles and train overactive muscle groups to relax therefore creating an even balance throughout the body. Classes can be performed on mats or using special equipment including reformer machine. Pilates was developed during World War 1 by Joseph Pilates- a German gymnast and body builder, who believed that poor posture, modern lifestyle and poor breathing control led to poor health. He developed a series of exercises which he began teaching to dancers and other high-level performers to rehabilitate them after injury or illness. Pilates is now popular worldwide, and Pilate’s original exercises have been adapted and developed but the core principles of breathing control, spinal alignment and strengthening of the deep abdominal muscles still remain. Pilates is a low impact form of exercise and can be adapted to suit people of all ages and fitness levels, making it an ideal form of exercise for those wishing to get back into sports and activities following an injury, after childbirth or for general reconditioning. At PhysioVerbier we teach APPI Pilates method, which stand for the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute.  The APPI has modified the original 34 Pilates mat work exercises to incorporate the most recent research on how we move and function as people in the modern-day climate of increased sedentary lifestyles. The program focuses on addressing low back pain, chronic injuries, muscle imbalance and movement impairments to create the most comprehensive Pilates program available.


Which one is better for me?

There are many points of similarity between yoga and Pilates. There are many different forms of Yoga, whereas Pilates exercises tend to be more structured. Both are excellent for both physical and mental well-being, as both aim to improve awareness and breathing control. Yoga contains a spiritual element, whereas Pilates focuses more on the physical aspects, but both are low impact and low intensity forms of exercise and can be adapted for anyone. We recommend people who have joint hypermobility to try Pilates first, and chat to your doctor or physiotherapist before starting any new form of exercise if you have any medical conditions or have recently given birth. Both yoga and Pilates can be excellent ways to rehabilitate after an illness or injury and all our classes are delivered by the very best teachers who work closely with our physiotherapy team. Ultimately the choice is personal, so why not give both a try and decide for yourself which one is right for you?!