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Benefits and Similarities Between Yoga and Pilates

Published on Mar 17, 2023   -  4 min read


Yoga is characterized by a pose holding it for some time. In contrast, pilates adopts a pose and challenges the core by moving the arms and legs. Read the below article to know more.


Pilates and yoga are two physical activities that everyone can perform. People consider both pilates and yoga to be similar, but they are different from each other. Both pilates and yoga are low-impact exercises. In the case of yoga, a person adapts a posture and holds it for some time, whereas in pilates, the person adapts the posture and challenges the core. Both these physical forms increase strength and flexibility.

What Is Pilates?

Pilates was created during World war I by a man named Joseph Pilates. The main intention was to help injured soldiers to recover by strengthening, stretching, and stabilizing specific muscles. The principles of pilates are correct alignment, centering, control, concentration, precision, breathing, and flow. Pilates requires stabilizing the core before performing any sort of physical exercise. It also involves both physical and mental health.

What Are the Benefits of Pilates?

It helps in the rehabilitation of soldiers. The benefits are:

  • Enhance muscle strength and endurance.
  • Increase flexibility and posture.
  • Reduces joint pains.
  • Better balance.

Pilates focuses on small movements that involve stabilizing the back and core muscles. These can be done on a mat or specialized equipment. This equipment used for pilates is different, using a spring, lever, and body weight.

Pilates also helps people with conditions such as:

  • Respiratory conditions.
  • Arthritis.
  • Joint injuries.
  • Back pain.

What Is Yoga?

Yoga originated 3,000 years back. Yoga aims at the betterment of physical and mental conditions. It is mindfulness and deep breathing that are critical factors of yoga. Yoga is of different forms, and there are many asanas. It aims at relaxation, exercise, positive thinking, breathing, meditation, and diet.

Yoga has a higher impact than pilates, and it may sometimes cause sprains and strains. In rare cases, yoga can sometimes cause spine fractures after performing yoga. In addition, advanced techniques of yoga, such as lotus and forceful breathing, can cause injury. People with glaucoma should avoid head-down yoga poses, which is a condition where high pressure is caused in the eye. Yoga should be practiced with the help of a certified instructor.

What Are the Benefits of Yoga?

Yoga helps in:

  • Reducing stress and depression.
  • Arthritis.
  • Respiratory condition.
  • Chronic disease and chronic pain.
  • Blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.

What Are the Similarities Between Yoga and Pilates?

  • Both yoga and pilates are performed with the help of minimal equipment and, if required, some props, such as blankets, blisters, and blocks.
  • Both yoga and pilates concentrate on breathing during performing exercise.
  • They both help in the reduction of stress and depression.
  • They both require mental focus on performing the exercise.

How to Choose Between Yoga and Pilates?

  • In case of exercises to be performed to reduce depression or stress, a person should choose yoga; it helps calm the mental state of mind and helps reduce stress.
  • The breathing technique differs significantly in yoga and pilates; in the case of yoga, breathing helps in relaxation. Throughout the yoga technique, it is vital to concentrate on how the breath is being employed. In pilates, the breath is more like providing the muscles with more energy.
  • Pilates should be performed for abdominal toning as it is more intense than yoga. In the case of abdominal toning, pilates shows a considerable difference in a short time than yoga.
  • In case of back pain, pilates and yoga can be performed, which can help improve the condition. However, in the case of performing yoga for back pain, care should be taken where certain yoga poses may worsen the condition.
  • Can perform yoga to increase the flexibility of the body and joints.
  • Performing pilates causes relaxation of the muscles and strengthens the muscles of the body.
  • In case of weight loss, a person should perform pilates exercises using a pilates machine, which may include cardio and fitness elements that will burn additional calories and help in weight loss.
  • In the end, yoga and pilates are excellent for toning and strengthening all muscle groups in the body.

Is Pilates More Fast-Paced Than Yoga?

Breath workouts are more critical in pilates and yoga, but the difference lies in how it is performed. In the case of pilates, the core is engaged in exhaling in yoga and vice versa. Therefore, yoga has more style and variety when considered to pilates.

Most yoga exercises are based on flowing through a series of postures rather than utilizing the body weight as resistance. The focus is on improving flexibility, stability, strength, and the mind-body connection. In case of pilates, it is more fast-paced than yoga, and there is no mindfulness involved.

What Are the Two Variations of Pilates?

Unlike yoga, there are only two variations of pilates. These are-

  • Classic:

The classic style of pilates is performed through 34 of the same moves (roll up, spin, twist, and jackknife are some of them) in the same order each session.

  • Contemporary:

Contemporary pilates is a creative way of founder’s exercise, like adding choreography, training from other fitness modalities, and physical therapy.

Pilates uses both body weight and external resistance, such as the reformer, whereas yoga use only body weight. Pilates act as physical rehabilitation for many people suffering from various conditions like neck pain, back pain, and multiple sclerosis. Pilates is not anaerobic but can benefit the heart by reducing stress. Pilates is primarily safe for pregnant women, elderly persons, and children. Anyone can perform pilates with the help of an instructor.

Which Should You Prefer?

It is difficult to say whether yoga or pilates is better suited; it depends on the requirements of each individual. Pilates can be performed if the person wants to increase strength and flexibility. Yoga should be performed if a person needs to improve the overall wellness of the body and mind. Yoga is better suited for men, but certain poses have different effects on both men and women. Overall both men and women can benefit from yoga. In the case of pilates, many of the principles were developed keeping men in mind, as it originated while working with male soldiers.


Pilates is a form of physical activity similar to yoga which everyone, under the guidance of a trained instructor, can perform. Both are less intense forms of exercise, but yoga can cause strain and sprain. Yoga concentrates on holding a specific posture for a certain period, whereas pilates concentrates more on the core while moving arms and legs. Pilate also specifics certain machines for workouts and involves cardio and fitness, which help weight loss, which is not followed in yoga. People who find it challenging to perform yoga can follow pilates.

Last reviewed at:
17 Mar 2023  -  4 min read




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