It still amazes me after all the years I have been teaching that some people still think Pilates is the same as Yoga. I can't tell you how many times the words "Pilates? oh, yea..that is like Yoga right?" have been said to me over the years. They are similar in the use of the mind body connection but, to me from there the similarities end. I have done many forms of Yoga over the years from Ashtanga to Iyengar although I will admit I never did Bikram mostly just due to the heat. We have instructors and clients that do Yoga and have found that Pilates has made a huge difference to their practice.
So, to put in the most simple of terms Pilates is not Yoga in one very big way, movement. In Yoga the pose is held and sometimes for a long period of time. Pilates you are moving through the exercise with a fluidity and not holding the position. We won't go into the breathing differences or get into point by point difference of the two but, your Pilates can really improve your Yoga practice.
Pilates can strengthen your core muscles to hold your position longer, open up your shoulders and hips, strengthen your shoulder stability and upper back, lengthen your legs and increase your flexibility to just name a few things. It makes your body work in a way that those Yoga poses become more supported by muscles that before hadn't been engaged.
Clients have found they can hold their positions longer in Yoga, Back bends become easier and even downward dog takes on a whole new connection for them.
One is not better than the other, they are different. Yet, when we get clients who have done Yoga for years into the studio they are surprised by what they need to work on to create a more balanced body and then they see how that affects their Yoga. They already have the mind body connection so for it is easier for them to get moving and understand the work of Pilates. It is another great partnership with Pilates. One thing we love about Pilates is how it helps you in not only everyday life and movement but, in other sports and activities that we love to do every week. We also love to hear it from our clients when they come back in all excited about some pose that they hadn't been able to do and now they can!