A lot of times when I talk about Pilates, to people who don't actually know a lot or anything about Pilates I hear the question "what's the difference to Yoga?" In fact there are a few things that both methods have in common. Nevertheless the main focus is a whole lot different.
So here we go, a brief introduction:
Pilates is a physical fitness system developped in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, after whom it was named.
Pilates is more than just a workout. It is a training for body and mind. If practiced with consistency the pilates method builds strength, improves flexibility and develops control and endurance throughout the entire body. Moreover it releases stress, enhances concentrativeness and improves your physical well-being.
It puts emphasis on
* developing a strong core
* breathing and
* improving coordination as well as balance
There are 6 principles that are incorporated in every Pilates class:
Flow of movement
The Pilates method allows for different exercises, in a range of difficulty to be modified from beginner to advanced or to any other level.
Both Pilates and Yoga are body and mind disciplines, though Yoga classes are much more likely to address spiritual aspects explicitely. Both disciplines develop fitness, strength and flexibility. Pilates however emphasizes core strength and the alignment of the body, whereas Yoga's focus lies more on flexibility.
I would also claim, that from a physio- therapist's point of view, Pilates exercises are "better" for the body, especially the joints. That is because Pilates exercises are more likely to focus on the core and centering which subsequently results in performing the exercises in a more gentle way.