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Which Is Better for Weight Loss: Yoga or Pilates

What is Yoga?

Enlisted as the “Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO, yoga is a group of spiritual, physical, and mental disciplines which originated around the fifth and sixth centuries BCE in India. As per Indian traditions, it has a meditative and spiritual core more than being a physical exercise. It is a miracle practice which has even been able to successfully combat the early symptoms of chronic illnesses, such as cancer, schizophrenia, asthma, and heart disease.




What is Pilates?

The physical fitness system named after its developer, Joseph Pilates, Pilates is a system of exercises that are aimed at strengthening the human mind and body. The practice firmly believes that the mind and body are interrelated. Also, it significantly emphasizes the alignment, breathing, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance in the body.




Which Is Better for You: Yoga or Pilates?

Let us know which exercise system is better for you and your health, yoga or Pilates? Experts believe that workouts primarily perform the same function i.e. lengthening and strengthening the body. Yet, the majority of the practitioners have more faith in one of the exercise systems than the others. The reason could be personal preference or physiological difference. But, experts have tried to rate them on the basis of their effectiveness in maintaining the overall wellbeing of individuals on the basis of the below mentioned aspects.


Heart Health


  • Yoga: A branch of yoga, Hatha yoga is known to provide little cardio benefits while power yoga is much more beneficial in giving the heart the aerobic workout it needs to pump healthily.
  • Pilates: Beginner level Pilates routine doesn't help much in bettering the heart health. It only provides a mild aerobic challenge, at the level of a slow walk. Advanced level class of Pilates are better as they help in kicking the heart rate up to that of speed walking.

Weight Loss


  • Yoga: You can burn about 145 calories just by practicing hatha yoga for 50-minute whereas, power yoga for the same tenure can help to burn about 250 calories. If you wish to lose weight, experts suggest doing a high-intensity activity, like jogging, etc. A study found that people in their middle ages, who regularly practice yoga, gain less weight than their peers who don't. There are a number of yoga poses help to lose weight faster.
  • Pilates: A beginner Pilates 50-minute workout can help you burn about 75 calories while an advanced can help you burn between 255 and 375 calories. Experts recommend a 45 to 60-minutes advanced routine workout for at least four days a week to maintain or lose weight fast.


Body Strength and Flexibility


  • Yoga: According to a recent study, people who did yoga three times a week for eight weeks experienced a boost in their total body flexibility by an average of 24 percent. They also experienced a boost in the strength as they could now manage an average of six more push-ups and 14 more curl-ups.
  • Pilates: Pilates workouts are better than crunches as they help in strengthening the abdominal muscles and tightening the hard-to-target obliques up to 310 percent. It also helps to improve the overall flexibility, particularly in the back, hip, and hamstrings.


Additional Health Benefits


  • Yoga: The benefits of yoga are in huge number. It helps you achieve inner peace, lowers the stress hormone (cortisol) levels, reduces the intensity and frequency of hot flashes by 30 percent, relieves back pain better as compared to traditional exercises, and eases arthritis.
  • Pilates: Pilates helps to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles, increases flexibility, improves posture, and provides a taller and leaner body.


The Final Verdict:

A few experts reportedly reveal that both Yoga and Pilates provide similar results and can be corresponding. Others believe that it is hard to explain the difference between the two exercise systems.  But, while trying to vitally understand the basic concept of yoga and Pilates, a few instructors pointed out that Pilates is more about toning your core, whereas yoga is better for relaxation and flexibility.


The effectiveness of both the exercise systems are found to be encouraging and to compare the two is like comparing apples and oranges. Pilates and Yoga both have the potential to help maintain the overall wellbeing of an individual, provided they are well communicated by an experienced and thoughtful teacher or instructor. So, in order to test which one is the best for you, test out different studios, classes and styles and then, decide the best for you. Yoga has numerous styles, such as vinyasa and hatha and Pilates varies according to the where it is practiced, a mat or machines and the speed at which it is taught.


Yoga and Pilates are characteristically both same and different. Experts say that Pilates and yoga both focus on breath, balance, flexibility, alignment, and strength. Both the practices require you to use your entire body and be totally present. Also, both the systems are done barefoot and have a set of poses and moves.


Now, talking about the differences between the two, Pilates is more focused on the ground that the standing poses and emphasizes on training the core in short sets whereas, yoga focuses more on the flexibility and works on the core.


Yoga and Pilates both are beneficial. Hence, experts suggest that in spite of choosing one of the two practices, indulge in both. This is because both the systems provide you balance, flexibility and strength in a healthy way. Increasing the flexibility in the yoga class will help you move deeper and bigger in Pilates and strengthening your core will give you better balance in yoga.