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Yoga and Pilates, Complimentary Disciplines      

Yoga and Pilates, Complimentary Disciplines    

Yoga and Pilates has experienced a resurgence in interest in the last few years. Both forms of exercise offer time proven methods that are very beneficial. Determining which form of exercise is best for you is a matter of personal goals and personal interest. In this article we will learn the differences between yoga and pilates and how they are also the perfect compliment for each other.


Joseph Pilates is the father of Pilates. He developed the system in the early 20th century in Germany. Joseph Pilates first called his exercise “Contrology” which means that the mind can control the body. When Joseph Pilates moved to New York the dance community embraced this new form of exercise. Core muscle development is its primary focus. Pilates can be done on a mat or with the use of specialized machines such as a Reformer. Many who have mastered Pilates develop long lean muscles.

There are six principles of Pilates (introduced by students of Joseph Pilates):


Intense focus and concentration is required to get the full benefits from this exercise.


Complete control of every movement is the goal.


The area between the ribs and pubic bone is the center,also known as the powerhouse. Movements begin at the powerhouse and flows to the limbs.

Flow or efficiency of movement

Once mastered, the movements in Pilates should flow smoothly from one position or extension.


Correct movements. Precise movements and alignment.


Full inhalation and forced exhalation. Proper breathing is a central part of Pilates.


The word yoga means unity or yoke (to bind). The objective of yoga is to unite the mind, body and spirit through a practice of breathing (Pranayama) and poses (asanas).

Pilates has 34 basic exercises while yoga has hundreds of asanas (postures).

Pilates has six principles and yoga has eight. They are referred to as limbs or paths. The first five principles guide the student away from an outward focus to an inner focus. The eight limbs of yoga are:

Yama-abstaining from possessiveness, coveting,lying,violence and sensuality.

Niyama-contentment,purity,surrender to God,austerity

Asana- 84 postures that strengthen the body and facilitates meditation

Pranayama-controlled breathing

Pratyahara-withdrawl of sensory stimulation and redirected focus internally.



Samadhi-Culmination or completion on the path of the yogi. Enlightenment or peace, being one with the universe.

There’s no need to make a decision on Yoga vs Pilates. One benefit of incorporating yoga and pilates is the development of lean and strong bodies. Pilates stabilizes and improves the spine along with improved balance and strength.


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