Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pilates vs. Yoga

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.    


  1. Great article that summarizes the basic and I love the graph! I would add that Pilates gives you the option to get a more fitness type of workout if you use one of the machines, whereas yoga is not about fitness, more about mediation and relaxation. Another good source is http://www.pilates-vs-yoga.com/pilates-vs-yoga/ also explaining the same!

  2. I practise both, but I think that for people from Western culture pilates is much more effective, as it is a workout including relaxation and yoga is a relaxation through different possitions. For me (European) Pilates gives best results - and I used to try many sports, as running,tennis,swimming,bike. Pilates really turns your body into something fantastic in almost magical way. Do the same with yoga requires much more time. Thanks Joe Pilates, you've changed my world!

  3. I had an hour long meditative workout for my mind, body, and spirit the other day using a living room floor and the Pilates Magic Circle. I believe if you really follow the Pilates principles, it can be as spiritual as yoga. I love them both.