What really is the difference between Pilates and Yoga? Which one should you do? The answers may surprise you. Lets start by looking at this diagram for a visual of the differences:
Joseph Pilates was inspired by both Eastern and Western forms of exercise when developing his method, so there are many similarities. As shown in the center of the diagram both improve posture, reduce stress, increase flexibility, and work on balance. In both classes you might rest in Child's pose or Shell. Exercises may include: Cat/Cow, Thread the Needle, Treading in a Downward Dog, Plank, or Seated Twist.
However, each has their own sequence and flow of exercises. This promotes a different pace with each class. One big overall difference is the breathing. In Pilates you pull in your stomach rather than allow it to fill with your breath. Pilates is also continuous movement instead of holding postures as in Yoga.
Another difference is that Pilates can use equipment with springs for resistance for quicker results when looking to tone up. In summary, both are safe and effective forms of mind/body workouts. Choose your favorite or do both to compliment one another.