I used to be guilty of thinking that these two exercises were one and the same, until I tried yoga and Pilates and realized that there was a world of difference between the two. This doesn’t mean though that one is better than the other; that all depends on what you need and what you are hoping to get from a workout. However, I would like to help you make that decision and this is why I have compiled a list comparing the two below. Check it out and see how they are different when put side by side. Choose the right exercise that will benefit you more! Or better yet, why not try them both?


The Differences between Yoga and Pilates

The Origins – Yoga as a practice started more than 5000 years ago in India. Over time and geography, it has evolved into many different kinds of yoga such as Bikram, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa, just to name a few. On the other hand, you have Pilates and it is a baby when compared to Yoga. It started in the mid 20th century and the guy behind it was Joseph Pilates who happened to be an athlete. He started the exercise as a way to rehabilitate and strengthen the body.

Spirit, Mind, & Body – Both these exercises help people understand the connection between the mind and body. However, yoga adds a little something extra by incorporating the spirit. Meditation is a huge part of yoga practice and you will often be guided through it if you enroll in a class. Pilates, on other hand, does place an emphasis on the connection between the mind and body but there is rarely any meditation involved.

The Exercises – When you work out with yoga, you can develop strength and flexibility throughout the whole body. When you work out in Pilates, you will often focus on the spine and the core. There are some classes where machines are used to help target certain body parts better.


Breathing –In yoga, deep breathing is important while holding each pose, or transitioning from one pose to the other. This is called the “Ujjayi breath” and is meant to help with flow and concentration. In Pilates, you breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the mouth.