Pilates Tip of the Month
What's the Difference Between Yoga and Pilates?
Lake Forest Health & Fitness Center is proud to offer a robust schedule of yoga and Pilates classes. But unless you're very familiar with both—or a trained instructor—it may be difficult to tell how these two programs differ.
Here are some of the differences and similarities between yoga and Pilates:
- Yoga concentrates mostly on increasing strength and flexibility of the spine and limbs; Pilates focuses on building abdominal strength first, then symmetrical musculature and overall flexibility.
- In Pilates, every movement emanates from the center (core) and extends through the limbs. In yoga, we concentrate on the breath first, then focus on deepening a pose.
- In yoga, the primary goal (aside from proper alignment in the poses) is to stay connected to the breath; in Pilates, the first order of business is the precision of movement, then the coordination of that movement with the breath.
- The breathing patterns are different in both practices. In yoga, for the bulk of the asana practice, the breath is either ujjayi (a smooth, heat-inducing breath that sounds like the ocean) or kapalabhati (a rapid breath that creates greater internal heat). In Pilates, the breath for most exercises is a slow, controlled, diaphragmatic breath—but a few exercises use a rapid, staccato-like breath (similar to kapalabhati breathing in yoga).
- In Pilates, most of the exercises are performed lying down—either prone (on the stomach), supine (on the back) or side-lying. These movements aim to defy gravity the entire time, engaging the abdominal center in order to lift up from the ground to lengthen muscles. In yoga, most of the poses are done standing and work with gravity by rooting down into the earth in order to lengthen the body away from the floor (with the exception of arm balances and inversions where one tries to defy gravity).
Note that in yoga, there are a number of poses done on the floor as well, such as seated forward bends, twists, bow pose and plow; and in Pilates, there are also standing series, such as the sculpting series or exercises that integrate the magic circle prop.
For more information about our Pilates classes or to schedule an appointment with one of our instructors, contact Deb Valenti, Pilates Coordinator, at (847) 535-7117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.