There’s no doubt that almost everyone the world over has heard of Pilates and yoga, and are equally aware that there are countless varieties of these exercise forms. Despite this, many would not find it so easy to explain the differences between the two offhand. So, what’s the definition of yoga, and how does this differ to Pilates? Are there indeed commonalities? And how can I decide between booking a yoga or Pilates retreat?
An historical overview: both practices at a glance As is common knowledge, yoga comes from India and is over 5000 years old. In the various asanas – the practices and poses – of yoga, the focus is on aligning body, mind and soul. This achieved through targeted physical movements, combined with conscious meditation practices. Yoga is tightly associated with spirituality and a certain way of life, something which leads many to define it as a sort of de facto life philosophy.
On the other hand, Pilates is much younger and was first practiced around the time of the First World War: with specially developed exercises from Joseph Hubert Pilates, soldiers could engage in preventative, fortifying and rehabilitative physical training. Over time, the practice of Pilates was further refined and built upon. Nowadays, the development of deep musculature, body toning and improved posture are very much in the foreground.
Same same but different Even in the short historical outline above we’ve certainly established that there are indeed notable differences between yoga and Pilates. To help you find the right practice and retreat for you, let’s explore this further. Yoga sessions are mostly about a mix of flowing movements which are by turns fast, slow, and static. The entire body benefits from these sequences. With targeted abdominal breathing, the breath is brought into unity with the physical flows. Hence body and mind are calmed, despite the sometimes challenging nature of the movements. A sense of conscious relaxation is key to yoga; some yoga forms also emphasise meditation practices to help with stress reduction.
Pilates sessions are all about the targeted strengthening of individual muscle groups. Tensions are released, and the controlled sequences improve posture. The flow of breath directs oxygen through the body to the specific muscles we’re working with, providing them with the required energy. In Pilates, meditation plays a somewhat relegated role. Instead, and contrary to yoga, there’s an importance given to a certain number of timed repetitions, guided by the rhythms of an individual’s breath.
Plenty in common Both Pilates and yoga employ various movement sequences to consciously tense the body and then, in harmony with breath flow, bring it to relaxation. Both practices improve overall physical health and one’s own body consciousness, so that we then pay more attention to our body in daily life. Both yoga and Pilates strengthen and stretch the muscles, train, and define the body and improve flexibility. In both, it is important to make movements in a concentrated and precise way. Only then can we get the maximum effect and avoid injury, while also paying close attention to what’s going on in the body – not only during the exercises but well afterwards. Both yoga and Pilates induce a better sense of wellbeing in everyday life.
The right choice for you: the impacts of yoga It’s no coincidence that yoga is often mentioned in the same sentence as mindfulness – in yoga, body and mind are equally present. It’s about a stronger perception of the self and the present moment, to build up the skill of being in the here and now in every sense. Throughout the various asanas, there’s a constant interplay between tension and relaxation. No matter how challenging a yoga session gets, it’s important to constantly keep an eye on the breath. Only then can body and mind truly come into harmony. That being said, yoga is worth a look not only for those looking to become more centred or de-stress; some yoga sessions are equally ideal as warm-up training or as complements for other forms of sport.
The right choice for you: the impacts of Pilates Pilates is a calm but intensive whole-body training for the entire musculature, without placing undue stress on our joints. The body’s core, its “powerhouse”, plays a key role in Pilates and is activated throughout the entire session. Targeted practices strengthen the deep musculature and improve posture and flexibility in equal measure. Pilates has a special impact on weaker and smaller muscle groups – ones which are often neglected by other training methods. Pilates contributes to a healthy posture, and in some courses participants work not only with their own body weight but with supplementary equipment. This makes Pilates a suitable method for enhancing performance levels in other sports.
Pilates at Hotel Post Bezau Yoga and Pilates have long held pride of place on our retreat calendar. Our Pilates retreats involve on-mat practices as well as the use of equipment, and work on both strength and mobility. They promote both good posture and a healthy physical balance. Over the course of multiple days, you learn how to develop a healthy and conscious lifestyle, and how to find one’s own centre and improve overall health. Always in the foreground is the sense of the body as an entire unit – its health and vitality. Our specially developed protein-rich nutrition plan perfectly complements our Pilates retreats.
Yoga at Hotel Post Bezau Our range of yoga retreats is as varied as the practice of yoga itself: from dynamic and challenging to more static and meditative exercises, each retreat has its own distinctive approach. Reflexion and mindfulness; enhancement of physical energy; stress reduction.. these are just a few examples of the retreat focal points. Our yoga retreats strengthen body and mind equally, with undoubted purifying and harmonizing effects which lend a new perspective for a balanced new outlook for everyday life. Of course, this is all impeccably matched with our very own “detox cuisine”, to support the purification of body and mind.
Our current yoga and Pilates retreats Our yoga and Pilates retreats are not limited by any specific season. All current retreats are listed in our retreat calendar. In case you’re still unsure whether it’s a yoga or a Pilates retreat which is best suited to you, feel free to get in touch – we’ll gladly help you reach the right decision.
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