Yoga vs PilatesHere's the thing: Pilates and/or yoga is only as good as the person teaching it. Your instructor will inform your class and guide you through a total body workout. Or not. At the end of the day, it comes down to the talent of the teacher and how well they know their craft. The other truly annoying issue is that the article only looks at Pilates mat work. It doesn't include any small props, and it doesn't include Pilates equipment, such as the Reformer or Chair. Basically it's looking at about 5 to 8 percent of the total repertoire of exercises. Imagine if they did that for yoga, only discussing Hatha, while completely ignoring Bikram, Ashtanga, Kundilini, and the like. People's reactions would be far from zen.
The Truth: Pilates is About the CoreHere's what I know to be true. Pilates does focus on the core ... it's what we do! Every exercise -- whether it's a bicep curl or a squat -- includes engagement of the abdominal muscles, what many instructors call the core. (Honestly I just call them "your abs," but that's me.) So you are working out your biceps AND your abs, and then you work out your butt AND your abs. It's one of the reasons why Pilates is so bloody effective at ditching the muffin top.
I tell my clients I expect you to walk in the door and suck your abs in and not let them go until you walk back out again.Just imagine how effective that is to defining and shrinking your midsection. It's cool, no? BUT as I mentioned above, you're also doing bicep curls and squat-like moves and all sorts of other exercises. It is completely a stem-to-stern workout and I just wish I could get my hands on Ms. Reynolds for an hour so I could prove her quite resoundingly wrong. As for yoga, yes, you are working the upper body quite a bit and lots of legs as you hold those warrior poses. You are definitely working and sweating. There is less emphasis on abs in yoga ... I've never seen a yogini with a six-pack, although I have seen plenty of healthy, strong, vibrant yoginis.