Pilates vs Yoga: The Differences Between Popular Lifestyles

March 19, 2021

When it comes to Pilates vs yoga, you’re going to find vocal supporters on both sides of the aisle claiming that one is better than the other, harder than the other, more focused than the other, delivers better results than the other, and so on and so on. Fact of the matter is that the two disciplines are both demanding and beneficial in their own right. In either world, you’re going to challenge yourself and push your body to its limits. Either can make you feel more empowered, focused, or energized. And you’re going to get a personal sense of satisfaction from both Pilates and yoga.

But you know what else can do all of those things? Figure skating, pole vaulting, Greco-Roman wrestling, rock climbing, synchronized swimming, Frisbee golf, quidditch…you get the idea.

My point is that just because both are healthy and challenging activities requiring strength, flexibility, and stamina, they’re really not as similar as you might think. As far as which is the better fit for you? That’s going to be up to you to decide. All we can do is dive into a few of the most frequently asked questions regarding the differences between Pilates vs yoga.

Now let’s just get this out in the open from the start: we’re a Pilates studio and this is a Pilates blog. We’re obviously gonna be pretty pro-Pilates here (it’s kind of our thing). At the same time, we realize that as rewarding as Pilates can be, it can also be pretty demanding at times and that might be a turn-off to some people. We get it. Truth is, our goal at Boom Pilates is to cater to any level of fitness and offer every student an exciting and rewarding Pilates experience packed with fun, form, and energy. We are truly unlike any Pilates studio you’ve encountered before (but more on that later).

The Difference Between Yoga and Pilates

One thing to keep in mind is that both yoga and Pilates encompass far more than we could ever begin to summarize here. So as we talk about the advantages to each and the differences between them, take it all with a grain of salt. Your experience with yoga or Pilates is dependent upon your level of comfort, your experience, your instructor’s methodology, and a hundred other variables. In either discipline, you’ll get out of it what you put into it.

Yoga is more of a mindful, thoughtful experience. Yogis often consider it to be more of a spiritual connection or religion as opposed to an exercise. Yoga is designed to give you a calming sense of serenity as opposed to a full-body workout.

On the other hand, Pilates is designed to strengthen and tone your body and make you better and more equipped for a high-energy, active lifestyle if that’s your thing. If you enjoy dancing, playing sports, running marathons, rock climbing, or any other dynamic activity, Pilates can help you get better. After a few sessions, you’re going to look better and feel better. In Pilates, you’re constantly moving and completing reps, so you’re gonna get your heart rate up and no doubt, you’re gonna sweat. If you’re looking for that “Zen-like” atmosphere you get from yoga, you’re not going to find it with Boom Pilates. But if you’re looking to get into shape and push your body to its limits, then Pilates can get you on the right track.

Which is better for stretching Pilates or yoga?

If your end goal is to become more flexible, the truth is that both Pilates and yoga will get you there; it’s just a matter of how. Yoga is built on static holds or stationary positions that you hold for extended periods of time. These holds are designed to calm the body and improve posture and balance. At Pilates, our movements (not “holds” but “moves”) are designed to enhance mental control and endurance. Instead of calming static holds, you’ll push your body with moves and repetitions. You’ll increase your heart rate. You’ll be energized. And you’ll probably be inspired to be more active. To put it into more direct terms, at the end of a yoga session, you might want to take a nap, calmly drink a tea, or rake sand with one of those little mini Zen garden things. At the end of a Pilates class–especially a Boom Pilates class–you’re going to want to lift a car (tip: don’t). In any case, if flexibility is your primary goal, and you don’t care how you get there, you really can’t go wrong with yoga or Pilates.

Is yoga harder than Pilates?

That depends on your definition of what “harder” entails. Pilates is certainly a more intense workout that burns calories faster and produces physical results quicker, so you could make the argument that Pilates is the harder of the two. But again, everything comes down to what you wish to get out of the class and the methods your instructor takes to get you there. While introductory courses are designed to help you get acclimated to the program, more advanced classes are obviously far more challenging in very different ways.

Which is better yoga or Pilates?

You’re probably expecting us–a Pilates studio–to say something like “Pilates is better, obviously!” And while it’s true that our instructors and the Boom community at large unsurprisingly prefers Pilates to yoga, there are plenty of enthusiasts on either side of that debate. And no one is right or wrong. It’s all a matter of preference.

In either practice, you’re going to be challenged and you’re going to put your body to the test. So much can be said in favor of Pilates and yoga that it simply wouldn’t be practical to get into everything right here in this blog. And the truth is, every experience is different. There are some fine yoga programs and stellar Pilates programs out there (**cough** @boompilates on Instagram **cough**). And likewise, there are some instructors and/or programs that’ll turn a beginner off from the start. So instead of saying “Pilates is better”, how about we get into exactly what Boom Pilates has to offer and you can decide for yourself.

The BOOM Difference

For starters, unlike yoga, Boom Pilates class participants have access to seven different pieces of Pilates equipment including the increasingly popular Reformer machine and the super rare Cadillac or trapeze table. Fun fact: our trapeze table is custom-built and painted pink (that’s right, we have a “Pink Cadillac”). These pieces of equipment are the modern equivalents of the seven devices Joseph Pilates used when developing this program in the 1920s. Because these devices are not easily portable (and crazy expensive), mat Pilates, which requires nothing more than an exercise mat, is probably what you’re most likely to find at your local gym or YMCA. Those who’ve only experienced this “travel-sized” version of Pilates instruction will be blown away at how much more Pilates–specifically Boom Pilates–has to offer.

At Boom Pilates, unlike other Pilates or yoga studios, we implement custom choreography and do complete each of our moves to an 8-count beat backed by pumping dance music. It’s loud! It’s energetic! It’s fun! It’s designed to get you moving and grooving while pushing your body like it’s never been pushed before. Basically, we’re taking traditional Pilates moves and routines and turning up the volume! We might have a few more reps in our repertoires, but because we’re always changing things up and staying in time with the music, you’re getting a killer and full-body workout without the exhaustion or fatigue you might find in doing the same things over and over.

Trust us when we say that the Boom Pilates Experience really is for everybody, regardless of their Pilates experience or level of fitness. Every repertoire is taught with multiple levels for beginners, intermediates, and experts. So if you’re new to this whole Pilates world, our instructors can help you get the most out of your Pilates experience. And if you’re a seasoned pro, possibly bored with travel-sized or cookie-cutter instruction, you’ll be pleased to know that our instructors have more than 500 hours of training and are ready to teach you those “expert level” moves that you’re not gonna find at your franchise Pilates studio.

At the end of each Boom Pilates session, we do like to add a tiny sprinkle of what you might call “Zen”. It’s more of a “mindful cooldown” really. We turn down the lights, turn down the music, and we share kind of a cool, communal appreciation for one another as we do some lighter moves and wrap the routine in a fun and conclusive fashion. Still no static holds or “namaste” commonly found in yoga per se, but just a perfect completion to your session.

If you think Pilates might be right for you, then contact us to learn more and sign up for your first of many Pilates classes and give us a follow on Instagram (@boompilates). And if you’re still on the fence regarding Pilates vs yoga, give us a chance; we are ready to work with you to help you reach your fitness goals!

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