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Difference Between Yoga and Pilates

The modern living conditions impose stresses and strains on all of us – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. There’s no doubt about it. The modern lifestyle is bad for you, so you have to do something to break away from that unhealthy routine before it’s too late. You can try a lot of things to achieve your mental peace. For one, yoga helps your mind and body to improve the quality of life. Pilates can help you with everything from improved posture to better breathing, and everything in between. Both are low-impact exercises that share some similarities in the body positions, but there are subtle differences between the two forms.


Yoga is basically a spiritual discipline originated in ancient India. It began as a spiritual practice but has become one of the most popular posture-based exercises involving mind and body. The yoga philosophy says the more control you have in your mind, the more power you have in your life. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that calms your mind and body, combining physical postures and meditation with breathing exercises. In fact, the most important components of yoga are physical postures, the stretching, the movements, and the breathing and relaxation techniques. The internationally renowned yoga guru and spiritual master said, “the word yoga literally means union.” 


Pilates is a low-impact exercise form that involves precise body moves and breathing techniques that focuses on improving flexibility, strength, and body awareness with an emphasis on core strength. It is a more systemized form of exercise that was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. He suffered from asthma, rheumatic fever, and rickets. It was after that he stated taking fitness regimens including martial arts, gymnastics, bodybuilding, and yoga. Pilates soon became a worldwide phenomenon. It focuses on core strengthening which is your abdominals and back. Pilates helps to improve general fitness and overall well-being. Like yoga, pilates shares a mind and body approach to exercise and health.

Difference between Yoga and Pilates


– Yoga is a mind and body practice with a deep spiritual connection and roots in the ancient India. Though traces of yoga go far back to the pre-Vedic period, the existing practices of yoga was codified or you can say systemized by the great Maharishi Patanjali. Pilates is a more systemized form of exercise that was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century as a new approach to strengthen the mind and body.


– While both are really great mind-body fitness modalities and can be performed on a mat, they are actually different exercise forms. Yoga is predominantly mat based movement modality that uses a combination of postures (asanas) and some breathing techniques to improve the mind-body balance. Pilates has a really strong foundation in mat work, but all of that translates to pretty elaborate equipment. Pilates exercises borrow from yoga, dance, and gymnastics.


– Yoga is basically a series of static postures and one of the oldest time-tested forms of exercises that focuses on improving physical and mental health through meditation. Yoga simply focuses on breathing, strength, and flexibility. Pilates works on the full body alignment, balance of opposing muscles, and precise ranges of motion. It focuses on core, lower and upper body strength as well as flexibility and posture. Pilates is also an excellent rehabilitation system for back, knee, hip, shoulder, and repetitive-stress injuries.


– Yoga focuses on a set of movements or asanas and flows through them sequentially. Yoga is a practice of embodied movement that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing, meditation and relaxation. Every movement has a function, so it has to be done in a particular way. Pilates, on the other hand, is a form of repetitive exercises performed on a mat or other equipment. It is floor bound that emphasizes the control of your powerhouse.

Yoga vs. Pilates: Comparison Chart 


Even though there are some similarities in physical movements and breathing techniques between yoga and pilates, both are definitely different movement systems. Both are low-impact exercises that focus on using bodyweight resistance, except yoga requires substantial flexibility and mobility of the joints. Also, the purpose and pace are what sets them apart. Pilates focuses on building core strength by improving balance, posture and flexibility. So, yoga and pilates are not the same.

Which is better yoga or Pilates?

Both are low-impact exercise forms that share many qualities and benefits. Both are ideal for mental and physical fitness. Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that improves your flexibility and mind-body balance, whereas pilates is ideal for recovering after injury and building core strength.

Is Pilates easier than yoga?

There are two main forms of pilates, reformer and mat, both of which are intense but the results can be seen much quicker than yoga. Pilates uses both bodyweight and external resistance apparatus.

Is Pilates better than yoga for weight loss?

Both pilates and yoga are great forms of exercises and are good for weight loss. However, yoga helps burn more calories, especially the more active forms of yoga combined with healthy eating habits.

What are 3 differences between yoga and Pilates?

Yoga is a spiritual practice but pilates is not; yoga focuses on a set of movements or asanas whereas pilates is a form of repetitive exercises; yoga is predominantly mat based whereas pilates is mainly reformer and mat based.

How quickly can yoga change your body?

When done consistently and under proper guidance, the benefits of yoga can be extensive and you can start to notice the changes after a few weeks of practicing yoga.

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  1. i always thinks that Yoga vs Pilates are the same but after reading your articles, it has been cleared that Yoga vs Pilates are different. thanks for such an informative article.

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References :

[0]Find Balance with Yoga and Pilates. New Jersey, United States: Enslow Publishing, 2018. Print

[1]Sturgress, Stephen. The Yoga Book: A Practical Guide to Self-realization Through the Practice of Ashtanga Yoga. London, United Kingdom: Duncan Baird Publishers, 2013. Print

[2]Herman, Ellie. Pilates For Dummies. New Jersey, United States: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Print

[3]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MADer71IIRk-yoga/

[4]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEI2BZu4f8-pilates/

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