Anne-Marie has practiced yoga since 2000, and became a teacher of Hatha yoga with the Yoga Therapy & Training Centre, Co. Down, in 2005. She currently teaches pilates only, but one compliments the other. She has spent many months in yoga and meditation retreats worldwide, including a five month stay in the Himalayas for intensive yoga and meditation practice. She is also a teacher of Sivananda yoga.

PEOPLE OFTEN ASK WHAT THE DIFFERENCE IS BETWEEN PILATES AND YOGA:

Though mind and body relaxation is a large part of both practices, yoga has an obvious spiritual element that Pilates does not have.
Pilates is predominantly focused on attention to posture, ease of movement, muscle balance and tone in the body, core strength, and stability for the spine and joints.
Static stretching, or holding stretches for prolonged periods of time is not practiced in Pilates, but is in yoga postures, to a smaller or greater extent, depending on the style of yoga.
In Pilates movements, there is dynamic stretching, a flow of movement in and out of a stretch, combined with the flow of breath, and conscious control of the support muscles for the joints around the stretch. This proves forgiving for an inflexible client and highly beneficial to all, paving the way for greater flexibility and strength together. Yoga is a fantastic compliment to Pilates when stretches can be held with ease of body and mind.

Conclusion:  With so much choice out there, we can try different approaches to movement and suit ourselves.  What may work for one person may not work for another.

The instructor that you choose for either case is most important.

Your teacher and his/her training, experience and professional assistance is key to your safe, productive and enjoyable experience in whatever discipline of movement that you choose.  Quality is always better than quantity.

What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?

  • Though mind and body relaxation is a large part of both practices, yoga has an obvious spiritual element that Pilates does not have.
  • Pilates is predominantly focused on attention to posture, ease of movement, muscle balance and tone in the body, core strength, and stability for the spine and joints.
  • Static stretching, or holding stretches for prolonged periods of time is not practiced in Pilates, but is in yoga postures, to a smaller or greater extent, depending on the style of yoga.
  • In Pilates movements, there is dynamic stretching, a flow of movement in and out of a stretch, combined with the flow of breath, and conscious control of the support muscles for the joints around the stretch. This proves forgiving for an inflexible client and highly beneficial to all, paving the way for greater flexibility and strength together. Yoga is a fantastic compliment to Pilates when stretches can be held with ease of body and mind.

Similarities and Differences between Pilates & Yoga, Detailed Edition.

Lots of people ask me what are the differences between pilates and yoga.  I have trained from beginner to advanced instructor level with two major companies of pilates over the last thirteen years, Bodyfirm, and Stott Pilates in particular (classical and non-classical).  I have also practiced and trained to instructor level with two schools of yoga, one in Ireland, YTTC hatha yoga, and one in India, Sivananda yoga, over the same period, and have spent much time in India, the U.S. and France at yoga ashrams / retreats.  Here is my account based on my experiences, as unbiased as possible:

By Anne - Marie Horgan, Pilates Haven

First of all, both pilates and yoga movements are performed, mostly, in a group setting on a yoga mat with an aid of an instructor.  The pilates technique also incorporates work on the pilates equipment, large and small.

There are many different yoga styles, many developed in the last century e.g. ashtanga vinyasa, sivananda, iyengar. derived from older forms, and also much older versions, e.g. kriya,  kundalini.   The style you use is a matter of personal preference or a matter of need.  Seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Yoga_styles for a simple overview of different forms.

There is one style of pilates, but two approaches – the classical approach was developed by Hubertes Pilates and his wife Clara, and the non-classical approach is a modern approach (not by that name) developed by such companies as Stott Pilates (and Moira Stott, who trained with Clara), who developed the technique further after Pilates’ death in 1967, with a strong foc

Both yoga and pilates are therapeutic, and designed to create calm in mind, body and spirit

  •  The focus on breath in yoga is largely for mind, body and spirit.  It is also helpful for focus, meditation and flow of movement.
  • That in pilates is primarily for correct placement of the breath in the body for optimal respiration, correct muscle usage and balance and ease of often overused muscles in the body.  It also helps to relax and focus the mind, and body.

Both practices enhance healing, flexibility and strength of joints:

The main conscious focus in pilates is to support the spine and joints of the body, and in doing so, emphasize control, precision, concentration and flow in both the mind and the body. The balance between strength, mobility, flexibility, and body suppleness creates a healthy, symmetrical workout for all muscle groups resulting in a leaner, more balanced, and strong body. Proper breathing is also an important element. The abdominals, lower back and buttocks serve as the powerhouse and primary support focus of movement, and the rest of the body is activated with these as their base of support. The conscious focus on core stabilization makes one stronger from the inside out and is critical for the advancement of the client. This includes correct breath, plus pelvic, ribcage, and scapular stability, plus correct neck and head placement, and an understanding of how the body can move efficiently with minimal impact. It ideal for injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Pilates is more technical than yoga to achieve its physical goals. Anne-Marie aims to teach her clients about body and posture in theory and in practice, to a detailed but simply explained and adopted degree for pilates, yoga, or any form of movement, be it sports, physical activities or general everyday posture.

Yoga’s teaching has some important direct emphasis on body and posture. It is usually looser than that of pilates from an anatomical or movement analysis point of view however. The poses promote a feeling of well-being and strength, but without as large a focus as pilates on the physical body, in order to meet its end goal, that of mind, body and spirit unity, and, in many cases a conscious spiritual focus, e.g. kundalini yoga. It often depends on the style. Iyengar yoga has a larger emphasis on posture for example. The instructor’s own knowledge and experience in movement analysis always lends to this of course. Nevertheless yoga helps you become more aware of your body’s posture and alignment, and results in a lean, strong and flexible body.

In yoga, the stretches are often held, static (not in all cases). In Pilates, there is no static stretching, rather dynamic.

In pilates, there is no static stretching – stretches are not held for a period of time. Instead, the body goes through a mindful range of movement and dynamic postures, incorporating the opposing muscles groups to support the joints and soft tissue, as well as the stability / deep support muscles for the body, at each stage of the movement. This lends to an alert, focussed mind and body to achieve muscle balance of strength, flexibility, suppleness and support around the joints. This approach is quite forgiving on the body, as there is a reduced possibility to overstretch, yet is very effective. It is ideal for most people. It is also great for those recovering from injury, plus those who are not used to stretching.

In yoga, depending on the style of yoga, e.g. iyengar yoga, stretches are often held for a period of time. This is very nice for slowing the pace of a class further, incorporating breath, relaxation and meditation. Care should be taken not to overstretch as you hold the stretch, so focus on the physical is also important. In some forms of yoga, e.g. astanga or vinyasa, dynamic stretching is involved, with an emphasis on flow from one posture to the next.