What Is The Difference Between Yoga And Pilates?

Looking after your body and mind is more important now than ever. It’s so vital to stay on top of your health and fitness, but also to strengthen your body and mental health. If you want to take care of your body, then you may be looking for a new workout to get into.

You may not have thought about yoga or pilates before, and you may not even be sure which is which, or how they differ from one another. So, what is yoga and pilates, and what is the difference? Let’s find out!

What Is Yoga?

what is yoga

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that dates back centuries. This kind of exercise focuses on improving your strength, flexibility and breathing to calm and soothe the mind, body and soul.

Yoga originated in India around 5,000 years ago, but has been adapted and integrated into other cultures and countries and is now practised all over the world. You can find yoga classes pretty much anywhere these days!

The main benefits of yoga are that you can relieve anxiety, decrease stress, fight depression, improve heart health, increase your overall quality of life, better sleep quality, increased flexibility, balance, breathing, whilst also relieving migraines and chronic pain.

Nowadays, many people implement yoga in their exercise and workout routines. This is largely because yoga is scientifically proven to benefit the body, as it can improve your flexibility, decrease depression and stress, whilst also relieving aches, pains and back problems.

When practising yoga, you will need to physically move your body and work on deep breathing exercises to help you meditate, relax and be mindful.

What Is Pilates?

What Is Pilates

Pilates is another exercise that also strengthens your body and improves your overall fitness and wellbeing. In addition to this, pilates can help increase the strength of the core, and improve joint mobility.

Pilates was invented by Joseph Pilates, who realized that physical and mental health are connected. Pilates originated with a mixture of gymnastics, boxing and Greco-Roman wrestling, and implemented special equipment such as mats, handles, straps and springs.

As a result, Pilates has been developed as a muscle strengthening activity that can help people maintain a strong, healthy body and weight. In addition, it is a low impact exercise that works on strengthening and improving the muscles, for greater flexibility and postural alignment.

The main benefits of pilates is to focus on the core, lower body and upper body strength, whilst also improving your flexibility, range of motion, joints and posture.

What Is The Difference Between Yoga And Pilates?

Many people confuse yoga and pilates for the same thing, and often use the terms synonymously with one another, but they are actually different things. Whilst both exercises can improve your strength, flexibility and wellbeing, they are different practices with different benefits and uses.

For example, yoga is a holistic discipline that originates in ancient India, whereas pilates is a physical system that was devised by a German anatomist in the early 20th century in order to improve the muscles (Pilates vs Yoga: Which is better? Find out here).

Both yoga and pilates are scientifically proven and praised for their health benefits and ability to connect the body with the mind for the purpose of strength, control and relief. So, it’s no wonder that so many people confuse the practises for one another. However, they can be very different.

The main difference is that yoga focuses more on breathwork and the spiritual side of health and wellbeing. Yoga implements the idea of connecting the mind, body and spirit through meditation, movement and breathing techniques for a more ethical and calm way of living.

That being said, not all yoga classes are just breathing and stretching, as there are other interpretations and more challenging classes out there. Yoga can be about transcending the self, breathing and looking inwards, but it is also about self discipline and flexibility.

There are many different types of yoga from hot yoga to restorative yoga, yin yoga and hatha yoga. Some versions are more peaceful and about learning the moves, poses and techniques, whereas others are designed to increase mobility and strengthen the muscles.

On the other hand, we have pilates. Now, pilates is not an ancient practise as it originated in the 20th century. This system was developed by an anatomist to target certain muscles and body parts to improve strength, posture and flexibility.

Pilates is more of a disciplined exercise that places focus on the core and the muscles for strength, balance and to support a healthy lifestyle. Pilates can help tone the body and improve the muscle and joints whilst also increasing your range of motion to give you better control over your body.

Which Is Better: Yoga Or Pilates?

Which you prefer really depends on your body and what you want to achieve from the exercises and workouts. For most people, yoga is better for those who want to improve their meditation practises and work on their flexibility and balance.

If you are looking for something more spiritual that connects the body and mind, then go for a yoga workout. On the other hand, if you want to improve your posture, core strength and work on your muscles, then pilates may be better for you.


To summarize, yoga and pilates are also confused with one another, but they are very different things. Yoga is an ancient practise that combines meditation, breathing and stretching techniques, whereas pilates is an exercise that targets muscle groups, improves flexibility, strengthens core muscles and helps injuries and weaknesses to recover quickly.

That being said, both are excellent low impact workouts that can benefit the mind, body and your overall well being!

Laura Simmons
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