Sports battle: YOGA VS. PILATES

You know you want to work on your fitness, do breathing exercises, build muscle and choose a sport that has physical as well as mental benefits. But faced with yoga poses and Pilates exercises, you don't know how to tell the difference. OK, you'll strengthen your deep muscles, but which method do you choose?

Yoga vs Pilates

Bertille and Rosalie, two athletes with a great knowledge of yoga and Pilates, will tell us about their activities.

Bertille, Hatha yoga instructor

I started 3 years ago. I got hooked right away and tried all sorts of classes: Hot yoga, hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga, iyengar, yin... I like having a very well-rounded practice! A bit over a year ago, my instructor offered to train me so that I could teach yoga myself. After thinking about it a lot, I decided to take the leap in the fall of 2018, and I'm now a hatha yoga instructor.”


How did you discover yoga?

I was quickly attracted by yoga—I'm naturally rather stressed, and I was looking for a way to relax. I started by buying a book (the yoga bible by BKS Iyengar) that explains the basics of the spiritual part, and describes the asanas used in Iyengar Yoga. The end of the book also provides some sequences, and after trying the first, I felt like I had never been so relaxed! That was about 6 years ago; since then, I kept practising—at first from time to time, but very regularly for the past 2 years.

What do you like about yoga?

What I like about yoga is first and foremost the ability to reconnect with myself. As soon as I feel stressed or tired, I know that yoga will quickly help me feel better and more centred. I have always done a lot of sports, so I also like the physical side, the fact of pushing your limits but always with kindness. I also like truly feeling the benefits of my practice. Since doing yoga regularly, I am calmer, in a better mood, and I've learned a lot about myself.

Why did you choose yoga over Pilates?

I was really drawn to yoga without wondering much about it—it's more that yoga chose me, to tell the truth! But I think it's mainly because yoga is a very well-rounded practice that combines physicality and spirituality, which I'm drawn to. It suits my personality well, it suits me better than a practice solely based on physicality such as Pilates.

What would you tell someone who wants to start yoga?

I'd tell them to get a move on! And don't be scared that you aren't flexible enough. I'd also say that to start out, it's good to take a class in a studio with an instructor. It helps a lot to be guided at the beginning, and the energy in a group class is generally very stimulating. You also need to find "your" instructor. It means a lot, it's important to have a good connection with the person guiding us.

Rosalie,—very—devoted Pilates practitioner

I've always been an athlete, but I discovered Pilates and couldn't give it up!

How did you discover Pilates?

Young but struggling with back problems, I was looking for a sport that, in addition to swimming, could help me to gently strengthen the muscles supporting my spine. I was also looking for a sport that I could do at home if my week was busy.

So I naturally headed towards Pilates. I tried a few Pilates classes, and I realized that the exercises gave me the keys to a better posture. Although I do it less often now than before, the Pilates method is still the sport that I can't do without.

What do you like about Pilates?

What I liked, and what I still like, about Pilates is its physical benefits. I feel at peace, my mind and body are aligned. Pilates allowed me to gain awareness of my body by smoothly using my muscles. The improvements in my support and figure have also been a source of significant satisfaction, since that was what I was looking for.

pilates rosalie

Why did you choose Pilates over yoga?

I was looking for an activity that wasn't too dynamic and was no impact, so Pilates seemed like the best sport, and I'll admit that I never wondered about yoga. I wasn't really drawn to it at the time, and that hasn't changed. Pilates is a gentle sport that suited my requirements the best, and since then, it continues to be a source of relaxation and peace.

What would you like to tell someone who wants to start Pilates?

Don't hesitate! Try it! You have nothing to lose by trying a Pilates session: at worst, you'll leave the class relaxed, and at best, you'll discover a passion for Pilates and its benefits.