Both yoga and Pilates are low-impact activities that offer many incredible benefits, from strengthening the core to achieving more flexibility, improving balance, and gaining a stronger mind/body connection.
It’s so beneficial that the number of people using yoga and Pilates as a complementary health approach has doubled.
They also both require very minimal equipment: just your body and a mat! Yoga and Pilates are great for all fitness levels, from a very beginner to an extreme fitness buff.
Rather than choosing to practice either yoga or Pilates, why not try them both?
By combining the two, you will receive the most benefits as both practices complement each other well. Pilates helps you improve your Yoga practice and vice versa.
Keep on reading to learn more about the benefits of practicing both Yoga and Pilates!
1. Both Have Great Philosophies on Breathing
Yoga and Pilates both have a similar foundation around the importance of breathwork. Joseph Pilates always believed that “Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it”. Pilates focuses on breathing from the lung space, expanding the chest and lung capacity.
Yoga maintains that Pranayama (breathwork) is the foundation and beginning of the eight limbs of yoga. This primarily focuses on moving the oxygen as the energy around the body.
Proper breathing helps you to connect to your body, release stuck emotions, connect to your truth, and both strengthen and relax you at the same time.
2. Yoga and Pilates Complement Each Other
As we discussed before, both yoga and Pilates are very similar. However, you can develop some skills from each practice that will help crossover into the other.
For example, the core strengthening of Pilates will help you with one-legged balances in your Yoga practice. Yoga has more of a spiritual mind/body connection that will help to strengthen the mind for the challenging exercises in your Pilates practices.
3. You Develop More of a Yin-Yang Balance in Life
Although Yoga has eight limbs of focus, it is mainly known for the meditative, spiritual practice which helps you connect to your inner self. While this inward practice is essential for your spiritual well-being, some people feel that they need a tougher workout.
Pilates has a tougher persona. The philosophy is based around core strengthening and an outward mentality, focusing more on the body and less on the spirit and the mind than Yoga.
Put the two together, and you have a perfectly balanced workout regime that will keep your spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well-being balanced and strong.
4. You Will Improve Your Posture
Both Yoga and Pilates are excellent exercises for improving posture. Pilates can help you to strengthen specific muscles around the core to keep your spine aligned and healthy. Yoga can help to stretch the muscles and strengthen the tendons and ligaments around the joints to help them stay in alignment.
5. You Will Have Better Symmetry
During Yoga practices, you are often working on only one side. Triangle and warrior poses, side planks, and even arm balances work half of your body at a time. While this is great for developing strength and flexibility on one side, it could be difficult if you have muscular imbalances.
You may be so fatigued from all the poses one your right side that when you move to the left, you will feel weaker. This may make it hard for you to know if one side is actually stronger than the other.
This is where the benefits of Pilates comes in. These exercises usually work both your right and left side at the same time, which helps you to see where your weaknesses are and work on them right there.
6. You Can Get Into Deeper Alignment
Having a full-time yoga practice will help you to achieve great physical alignment. But when you add Pilates to the mix, you’ll improve it even further.
Pilates will help to strengthen the small, intricate stabilizer muscles that surround the joints so you have more of an ability to rotate your hips during warrior, tuck in your pelvis during planks, and pull your shoulders back during triangle pose in your yoga practice.
7. Each Will Help to Prevent Injuries
Doing Pilates and Yoga together will help you to prevent getting injured in each practice. Having the flexibility of yoga will enhance your range of motion during pilates exercises without pushing too far and getting injured.
Likewise, the strength of Pilates will help you to hold yoga postures for much longer and prevent you from overstretching. You will be amazed at the strength of your inversions and arm-balances after incorporating more Pilates with your yoga practice!
8. It Helps You to Feel Less Sore Over Time
Yoga can make you realize that you don’t have to get an intense workout to feel incredibly sore the next day. Pilates will show you little muscles that you never thought you had because they will be so sore following your practice.
With Yoga and Pilates combined, you may feel a deep muscle soreness like you have never felt before. However, over time, you will realize that you are less sore because you are becoming stronger. This means that you need to raise the level of your practice a bit in order to prevent a plateau.
9. They Can Both Help You Achieve a Lean and “Toned” Body
While Yoga and Pilates are not cardiovascular exercises, they both have cardiovascular components with their repetitions and fluid movements. Doing a Pilates/Yoga mix is the perfect combination to help you achieve a lean and toned shape without bulking up.
Learn More About the Benefits of Yoga and Pilates Combined
The benefits of combining Yoga and Pilates are virtually endless. They perfectly complement each other and help you to achieve a healthy and strong body, mind, and spirit.
To get started with your practice, try out this restorative yoga sequence that’s perfect for any level of experience.