Yoga vs Pilates

When I tell people that I’m a Pilates teacher, many still assume it is the same thing as yoga. Although they are similar due to both being considered as body&mind methods, they are not the same. I’m going to discuss some things they have in common and what makes them so different!

Yoga vs Pilates

To begin; they differ in origin. Pilates were designed during WOI to help rehabilitate soldiers. Yoga is more of a philosophy and has been around for a quite longer period.

Yoga is described best as a practice, and I like to think of Pilates as a workout method. In Pilates, the main focus is on the core muscles, also known as the powerhouse. It is a method designed to bring together the muscles in the entire body, which makes Pilates great to prevent and resolve injuries, back pains and joint issues. I like to see yoga more as a ‘workout for the mind’, although there are many different forms of yoga; the focus of power yoga for example is more on strengthening the muscles.

Yoga and Pilates are both dominated by bodyweight exercises; the only thing you need is a mat or a carpet and with some exercises this isn’t even that necessary. With yoga, you can use props like blankets, blocks or straps, but not any machinery. Pilates studios do use machines such as a reformer. Both yoga and Pilates can give you strong, flexible muscles and a lean, defined look.

As mentioned, they have in common that you’re not only training the body, but also the mind. Both practices are great for stress relief, however, because yoga is more spiritual and less physical, yoga might work better if you’re feeling stressed. They both focus on breath, however, with Pilates it is used more as a technique, while yoga uses breathing exercises to achieve relaxation.

To me, yoga is more of a lifestyle because of the meditational aspect. Yoga does not stop when you roll up the mat. Pilates however, is considered less spiritual.

Is there a winner? No. I can’t tell you wether yoga or Pilates are better than the other; it’s a matter of trying it yourself. Don’t give up easily. Go and give a few lessons a try a and see how you like it. After that, get back to me and tell me all about your experience! Have fun!

Leave a Comment


  1. Clementine Buttercup

    For me plates is great for toning and for use when recovering from injury. Personally, yoga makes me feel stronger and more relaxed. I guess doing The Warrior pose has something to do with it!

    • Lisa

      Yes I can imagine, the Warrior pose is an incredibly strong pose! Yoga and Pilates make an amazing combination, I’m happy this works for you! X

  2. Kat

    Great post!!!! I was considering starting yoga but now i’m thinking Pilates may be more me. Thank for the info 🙂

    • Lisa

      Thank you Kat! You should really try both if you have the chance, let me know what you thought of it once you have :D! Xx

  3. Vanessa

    Great article!
    I find Pilates isn’t relaxing as it is quite a tough workout at times (particularly when it incorporates ab work or arms for me!), but yoga is quite tough on the body as well. I think I feel more relaxed then though as I can flow through the postures and concentrate more on my breathing while holding poses 🙂