Let's cut right to the point: When it comes to whether yoga or pilates is better for your body, it really all depends on your goals.
That said, there are some general guidelines. With Pilates, there's always a focus on core strength and stability, so if you have back issues or play sports that require a strong core (like golf or tennis), that workout will be beneficial for you. If you're seeking increased flexibility and relaxation, yoga tends to put more emphasis on breathing and connecting with the mind. Still, some yoga instructors may also focus heavily on core work and some Pilates teachers may guide you to focus on being in the moment.
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As far as how each class makes your body feel, they both help with your alignment, balance, and strength; as far as the workout experience, for Pilates, you'll be on a mat or machines, and for yoga, you'll also have some standing poses. Neither is at the high end of calorie expenditure or cardio intensity—even hot yoga is low on the calorie-burning continuum.
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Overall, I would encourage you to give both a try because each offers many benefits. Pay attention to how you connect with the instructor, then pick the class that best suits your needs and that you enjoy most.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.