Anne, Mama to Conner 2/27/04 Gabrielle 2/6/06 W/LMC-TCS, Neurogenic Bladder, AFO & KAFO wearer, Neurogenic Bowel & Delaney 5/12/08 & Beethoven & Gizmo
Most of yoga is going to be balance, core and strength exercises. Some classes have repetitions of warming or chakra opening movements but in general I find it to be a strength class.
Pilates is similar to yoga in the ideas of flexibility and strength of the body. Maybe it is the breathing and visualizations that is the biggest difference...
I am a big fan of bodyweight exercises and using slow controlled movements to build muscle so I think that either one of these practices is a great addition to someones fitness routine. I personally like to spend my time doing yoga because the visualizing and breathing techniques benefit more of me than just my muscles.
Building muscle helps burn fat but we all know that diet is the biggest part of our fitness and overall health so standing alone, yoga and pilates wouldn't do much for anyone.
Yoga helps with flexibility, join mobility, strength relative to body size, breath awareness, energy, and body awareness. All of these things will aid in any athletic endeavour, AND it promotes relaxation and stress reduction.
Pilates focuses more on the "core" muscles - abdominals, hip flexors, back & gluteals - which allows you to lift more, more safely in a weight-training program, improves posture and alignment (which yoga may too), and (IME) is more of a "workout". It can also really help with specific areas of weakness, and I've always found I feel awesome after a class. It's great just from the "OMG I have abs and they feel FABULOUS" aspect.
Both types of exercise are best done in a class, which helps provide motivation and structure, as well as a social element that many people find helpful. Both types of exercise will build *some* muscle and strengthen and condition existing muscles, and are DEFINITELY better than doing nothing at all, but if you really want to lose fat and build muscle, resistance training is the way to go (along with interval training for cardiovascular/aerobic health).
Postpartum doula & certified breastfeeding educator, mama to an amazing girl (11/05) and a wee little boy (3/13).
Nirvana is . . . the living happiness of a soul which is conscious of itself and conscious of having found its own abode in the heart of the Eternal. --Gandhi