Pilates Vs Yoga | Which One Is Better?

by Monday, August 29, 2016

Pilates vs Yoga: is one better than the other? Today you will know the differences and similarities of these two popular exercises and discover for yourself which one suits you.

As a yoga instructor, it’s not uncommon for me to hear all sorts of questions about yoga during my classes. “Will I lose weight?” “How much calories will I burn?” “Is it safe?” But one of the most often-asked questions is pilates vs yoga. “Which one is better?” Or “Should I do yoga more than pilates?”

Pilates Vs Yoga | Which One Is Better?

Spotting The Differences Between Two Well-Known Exercises

This post isn’t to show you one is inferior to the other but rather to outline the similarities and differences so you can make the best choice for yourself. After all, I am all for self-empowerment, and this is one of the best ways to do that.

For better comparison, I am going to use a couple of factors:


Pilates Vs Yoga | Which One Is Better?

There’s no doubt yoga beats pilates in this area. Yoga has been around for thousands of years until now some still doubt as to how it really came to be. Pilates, meanwhile, began in the early twentieth century. Both also differ in terms of their places of origin: yoga came from India while pilates started in Germany.

Joseph Pilates | Pilates vs Yoga Which One Is Better

While you can attribute pilates to a specific person – Joseph Pilates, a German fitness trainer – we can’t do that with yoga due to its unclear history.

Mind-Body Connection

Yoga and pilates share similarities when we talk about mind-body connection – both believe it. In fact, it’s one of the core themes of pilates. But what sets them apart is yoga’s third element called spirituality. There’s even reason to believe yoga was developed mainly to improve one’s spirituality and help a person connect to the universe or achieve oneness. The idea yoga may have health benefits came way later. This explains why meditation and chants are missing in a typical pilates class.


Pilates Vs Yoga | Which One Is Better?

There’s no yoga vs pilates when we focus on their respective physical and mental health benefits as many can attest they do help tremendously in these areas. Both can improve flexibility, strength, concentration, and control.

However, pilates tends to deal more with core strengthening through a variety of exercises that target specific muscles like those of the abdomen, glutes, thighs, and arms. Yoga works with different types of muscles, and it’s possible to work with the entire body in only one yoga session.


Yoga and pilates are both low-impact exercises, which means they can reduce the risk of injuries. Pilates, for one, was developed to help athletes recover much faster from injuries during training or performance and to prevent such injuries from happening more often. Over the years, though, yoga evolved to include power yoga, a style that involves a quicker pace of doing sequences.


Pilates and yoga exercises encourage proper flow, breathing, concentration, and precision, although the last one is more emphasized in pilates. But since pilates is more about core strengthening, a lot of the exercises include reclining, sitting, or prone positions. You’ll find more postures in yoga, where sequences can have back bends, twists, and even lifts like in acro yoga. Speaking of options, since there are more types of yoga, you also have wider choices for classes.

Materials Used

Both types of exercises can use a piece of equipment. For example, in yoga, we have mats and blocks. Pilates, though, has more machines including the Reformer (see how it works in the image above), whose technology was developed by Pilates himself.


So based on these, which one is better? For me, it’s actually both! With yoga, I developed clarity, purpose, and calmness, as well as patience and self-awareness. I haven’t done much pilates, but based on the comments of people I know who are into it, it helps them develop a better core, balance, and control. They acquired not only a flatter abdomen but stronger and tighter muscles, which allow them to enjoy other types of workouts with greater ease.

And you can even do both! Here’s an example of yoga-pilates blend workout by Jessica Valant Pilates:

As long as you enjoy both, you have a clean bill of health to do either yoga or pilates, or you benefit from these two, there’s no argument on pilates vs yoga.

In pilates vs yoga, which one do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the Comments section. If you need more ideas about yoga, read this yoga dictionary

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