Should You Try Yoga or Pilates? Here Are the Differences Between the Two

Kin Cheung/AP

Yoga and Pilates are two forms of exercise that are sometimes lumped together as the same workout, with the same benefits. However, both exercises have many different forms, origins and practices. 

Yoga, a practice which dates back over 5,000 years, is considered by many to be much more than just stretching one's limbs — it's a lifestyle. With origins deriving from ancient Indian culture, the focus of yoga isn't primarily physical, rather it has become popular as a form of stress management and "soft" exercise. The ancient practice has evolved into various forms — Ashtanga, Kripalu, Bikram and Vinyasa, to name a few — due to it's increasing popularity. 

Read more: Here's Why You Should Sleep Naked, According to Science

"It's a mind/body and heart exercise, plus a spiritual path, where the goal is alignment with the optimal self," says Sadie Nardini, founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, told Fox News. "Physically, we do that through poses, to heal and keep the body fit. Mentally, we clear the chatter. And we practice the heartfelt spirit of unity, which is what 'yoga' means. Once we've aligned and strengthened our bodies, minds and hearts, we're better able to live the lives we choose, and meet our goals through conscious action."

Kin Cheung/AP

Research has found that practicing yoga regularly can potentially lower the risk for heart disease and hypertension, and "can preliminarily recommended as an effective intervention for reducing blood pressure," according to a study

Pilates is a newer form of exercise, with a greater focus on the physical. Created by physical trainer Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, Pilates was originally conceived as a safe form of exercise to ease injured athletes and dancers back into their training, according to the Better Health Channel.

Chris Weeks/Getty Images

"Pilates is the No. 1 exercise that you can do for the rest of your life," celebrity trainer Kit Rich  told PopSugar. "It is your absolute go-to. There are so many different apparatuses in Pilates that whatever injury you have or where you're at in your life, [like if] you're pregnant, there is an option for you. In that way, Pilates is your best friend."

Pilates focuses on the conditioning of your body and improves muscle control, flexibility, body tone and more, but is still considered a "softer" exercise, as no intense exhaustion is required to perform the Pilates workout. Pilates, like Yoga, has a host of health benefits, particularly in the fight against hypertension, high blood pressure and other forms of cardiovascular disease.