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Home / Articles / Columnists / Fitness by Larisa /  Differences between Pilates and Yoga
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Wednesday, June 7,2017

Differences between Pilates and Yoga

By Larisa Klein  

As a Pilates and Yoga instructor I am often asked: “Pilates is like Yoga, right?” There are similarities, yes.

 

But no, Pilates is not like Yoga. Besides, Yoga is already perfect, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

While flexibility and mobility are built into the work, Pilates is more about stabilizing, about drawing into the center. Arms and legs move and reach out, but the real focus is on stabilizing spine, hips, or shoulder blades. Everything the arms and legs do is simply to create more challenge to the isometric, the stabilization. Spine mobilization focuses on proper articulation at each vertebra, which also requires stabilization of other parts of the spine.

One of the ultimate goals of Pilates is efficient movement: no need to move more bones or work more muscles than necessary. Efficient movement occurs when strength, balance, and flexibility are balanced. Pilates wants a painless body, so it avoids anything that disrupts that. Therefore, it does not aim for extra flexibility, increased muscle size, or an ultra-strong or enduring body. The work necessary to acquire each of these qualities comes with its own potential for creating imbalances, misalignments, and eventual (if not immediate) pain. So if you want a body which is strong but not all powerful, flexible but without the ability for a full split, and a relatively painfree body which still works well into your old age, Pilates is a great way to get there.

Yoga can be as gentle as a walk in the park, or as intense as sloweddown gymnastics. The practice never ends and is rarely mastered. This is because even if you are as flexible as a contortionist, and strong enough to hold yourself up on just two fingers, the practice actually has very little to do with your body. Sure, it also wants a pain-free, healthy body. But more so, it wants you to look beyond your body. Even more, it wants you to look past the person you think you are so you can grow beyond that. For example, if you are so convinced that you are one way, it will be hard to be any other way, and this can hinder personal development. A healthy, happy body is just the beginning in Yoga.

Physically speaking, it goes back and forth which is “harder”. Sometimes things are so hard in Yoga that Pilates can help you build the strength to get there. But once you get there, you can take that Yoga posture and put it on a machine which moves out from underneath you, and now Pilates is harder. It can go this way for a long time.

But if you want to get past the physical, Yoga will just go on forever.


Larisa Klein • Wellness Achieved Studios • 3000 E Commercial Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. 33308 • www.wellnessachieved.com • 954-600-9828 Larisa has been trainingin Yoga, Pilates, and functional weight training for 20 years since. 1997. She has extensive experience working with cancer survivors, people with various physical special conditions (joint/spinal injuries/operations/replacements/MS/etc.), internal special conditions (schizophrenia, drug/alcohol addictions) as well as triatheletes and Olympians. She is a black belt with full competition experience, a current practitioner of Kung Fu, and has a MA in Mathematics and a second BS in Alternative Medicine.

 

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