Pilates and Yoga: Differences and Similarities

Fitness incorporates physical fitness with mental fitness. Both Pilates and yoga use different body positions to stretch and strengthen the body, while focusing the mind and connecting the two. When it comes to Yoga vs. Pilates, they have similar attributes but also have some differences. When looking into a “mind and body” fitness routine, understand there are different types of Pilates and yoga. If you are thinking about whether to practice yoga or Pilates, this article will help you understand both of them.

Pilates and Yoga: Differences and Similarities

Pilates vs. Yoga: Differences




The origin

An exercise routine started by Joseph Pilates in the 20th century. Pilates has grown to be a very popular training method for dancers.

Yoga started in India over 5,000 years ago as a spiritual practice.

Workout and benefits

Pilates can strengthen the body and give it a long and lean appearance without causing the muscles to appear large and bulky.

Yoga poses give the body more flexibility, increase strength and increase blood flow to the internal organs.

What’s the class like?

Pilate’s classes are structured exercise routines. The exercises and classes are fairly routine and the same every time. It involves a much regimented group of exercises that focus on strengthening the core of the body and the spine.

Yoga classes are set up by style and each style has different poses. Some of the styles are Bikram, Kripalu, and Ashtanga. Classes also include meditation exercises.

Breathing technique

Breathing is done in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Breathing in yoga is very deep, slow, and conscious. Some styles require that you breathe in and out through the nose only. This is known as ujjayi breath.

Mind body connection

Pilates helps you create a “mind/body” connection that can assist you in daily life.


In yoga, all three of the elements; mind, body, and spirit are focused on. This is accomplished with the deep breathing and meditation.

Core muscle toning

Pilate’s exercises intensely focus on muscle strength and core toning. The more often you practice, the faster core muscles in the abdomen firm and flatten.

Core muscle toning is an addition to total body strengthening, where in Pilates it tends to be the focus.

Style and poses

  • Works the whole body
  • Uses Pilates equipment for core strength
  • Mat work for balance and posture
  • Promotes healing, flexibility and joint strength
  • Coordinates breathing with moving
  • Increases overall feeling of well-being

Pilates vs. Yoga: Similarities

  • Both Pilate’s and Yoga give you flexibility and core strength
  • Pilate’s and Yoga encourage a “mind/body” connection
  • They both require focus on proper posture and positions
  • Yoga and Pilate’s poses are designed to flow together
  • Proper breathing is important for both

Calorie Burning for Yoga vs. Pilates

  • Hatha Yoga burns about 145 calories per 50 minute class
  • Power Yoga burns about 250 calories per 50 minute class
  • Pilates burns about 175 calories per 50 minute workout.
  • Power Pilates burns about 255 to 375 calories per 45 to 60 minute workout

Yoga or Pilates, Which One Is the Best for You?

Choosing whether to do Pilates or Yoga depends on a few different things. Here are a few ways to help you choose which workout would benefit you the best:

1.       Mind/Body Connection

If you want your exercise to be a spiritual routine to help you reduce stress and connect mind and body, then Yoga would be a great option.

2.       Core and Back Strength

Consider Pilates if you really want to work your core abdominal muscles and back. Pilates core and back exercises are very powerful and intense.

3.       Health and Healing

If you are in poor health and need healing, Yoga can help improve the healing ability of your own body. It can also be good for people with certain health conditions, due to the “low-impact” exercise.

4.       Improved Breathing and Flexibility

Yoga focuses on very deep breathing and stretching of the muscles. If you want to breathe deeper and be more flexible, this is the best option.

What About Doing Both?

Some people research Yoga vs. Pilates and can’t decide which one they want to do. For some, it would seem like a combination of core strengthening, mat exercises would go great with meditation. It is perfectly fine to do both routines together and those who do combine them find they blend nicely. You can do your Yoga stretches first and then move on to Pilate’s for your abdominal muscles. Then you can do your Pilates machine work and use that to help improve your Yoga poses. While doing Pilates you can incorporate meditation, and while doing Yoga you can use the Pilates power breathing techniques. You will notice yourself getting stronger and dealing with stress and illness better.

If you are trying to lose weight, you can take these notes into consideration:

1)      Try switching Pilates machines and doing intervals between cardio and mat work poses. Making brief changes helps to increase calorie burning by the body and increases weight loss potential.

2)      Whether Pilate’s or Yoga, both should be done while eating a very healthy diet. Reduce processed foods, fast foods, and sugars. Increase fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, whole grains, and healthy fats (avocado, fish, and olive oil). Drink plenty of water before and after working out. Try to drink coffee and alcohol in moderation.

3)      Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine. Pilates is often a moderately high-impact exercise routine and may not be suitable for some health conditions. Yoga is lower impact, but may also not be suitable for some health conditions.

Super SlimDown: Pilates Yoga Blend

Same Category