Usually when people see someone with a rolled-up foam mat, they assume they are heading to either a yoga, pilates or a yogalates class. These exercise practices are known for doing their workouts on a mat, and it’s not a bad thing … and it certainly beats working out on a hard surface.

When people hear the words “pilates” or “yoga,” they are aware that yoga and pilates are two different forms of exercise. For some, they may think they’re relatively the same thing — that’s not the case at all. Yes. Yoga and pilates carry similar benefits, but they are very much their own individual forms of exercise.

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Yoga and Pilates both focus on regulating a person’s breathing patterns because, let’s face it, if someone doesn’t have a stable breathing pattern (or isn’t breathing at all) they’re going to pass out. It’s the key component to a successful workout regardless of what kind of exercise you’re doing.

Both workouts also focus on body alignment and balance. In order to gain the full benefits of their postures, they have to hold their stance in a certain way and level themselves. If they have bad balance, they’ll learn to maintain their postures over time. Another benefit is flexibility and strength, the poses that they’ll be asked to do will challenge the body to go to new limits that they didn’t think their body was capable of doing.

“Both Pilates and Yoga are great forms of exercise that utilize the mind-body connection to advance the practices. I am particularly passionate about how pilates incorporates aspects of yoga, such as lengthening muscles and increasing flexibility,” said Neely Hufnagel, Owner of Pilates on 3rd.

One benefit that isn’t as well-known is that yoga and plates will teach a person patience. In a world that moves fast, yoga and pilates will force people to slow down and take things one step at a time. People will not achieve these poses overnight nor will they become extremely flexible in a few hours. These things will take time and lots of practice and patience. Overtime, they will get into the groove and start to master these ultra cool positions. Don’t lose hope!

What’s the difference?

Photo courtesy of Jason Moale (IG: @theinfader)

Photo courtesy of Jason Moale (IG: @theinfader)

Pilates is performed more so on the ground lying down, sitting and kneeling than standing up. It also focuses on training the core in sets (“sets” as in doing eight or a different count of reps for each posture). Did I mention that pilates will use what they call “resistance machines,” which is more of a weightlifting exercise than anything else.

Pilates also focuses on relaxing tense muscles and providing strengthening techniques for a numerous amount of the muscles in the body, mainly the core. It works against resistance with the abs pulled in and up to support the spine. With that being said, most of the breathing will be against the rib cage.

“I would say that the main differences between the two are that pilates emphasizes core control for all movement, stability of the spine and muscles supporting the trunk, and that the pilates reformer can provide resistance training, so it’s incredibly effective at building strength while increasing flexibility,” Hufnagel said.

Due to pilates working against the resistance of the body, it will burn more calories.

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Yoga focuses more on flexibility and meditation than pilates. It works to gradually increase the flexibility and strengthening of the joints. People who practice yoga would recommend practicing with a relaxed mind, so one can connect and flow with their body as they perform different poses.

Yoga is also known to be a healing component. It came help relieve stress, anxiety, boost confidence and build a stronger immune system. The way our body response to relaxation causes the body to improve in health and physical vibes.

Photo courtesy of Jason Moale (IG: @theinfader)

Photo courtesy of Jason Moale (IG: @theinfader)

Lastly, here’s some food for thought. With pilates working to strengthen the muscles and yoga working to relax the body, it’s great to practice these two together. This would be called “yogalates,” and it’s a great balance of working out and winding down.

The muscles will need a break in-between workouts to prevent bodily harm. By stretching the muscles before and after workouts, you can limit those potential problems and allow the body to relax.