The Difference Between Pilates And Yoga


It’s common for people to assume that Pilates and yoga are the same. While they do have some similarities, they are quite different. Many people find Pilates and yoga are the perfect complement for each other and choose to include both in their regular exercise routine.


People appreciate the physical conditioning and quick results they see when they include Pilates as part of their exercise routine. Pilates was developed by  Joseph Pilates in Germany a bit more than a century ago and uses the principles of breathing, alignment, and movement integration.

Many Pilates exercises use machines. At our studio, we incorporate the latest knowledge of bio-mechanics and movement principles using Pilates apparatus/equipment including the small arc, tower, reformer, chair, cadillac, and ladder barrel. These tools provide resistance and/or assistance to the person using the apparatus/equipment.

During a Pilates session, the instructor will give a specific cue to facilitate movements and optimal alignment. You will work in a variety of positions: supine, side-lying, prone, seated, and standing. Pilates (contemporary Pilates) does not follow a specific flow or sequence but varies with every session.

Pilates helps to strengthen muscles without adding bulk, builds solid core muscles, and often results in weight loss and increased energy.


Yoga is a lifestyle, not just a workout, that unites the body and mind. It’s a meditative practice developed more than 5,000 years ago in India to support physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. Today, many different varieties of yoga are practiced including Hatha, Iyengar, Kundalini, Vinyasa, and more.

Yoga incorporates standing and floor poses that require you to find your own center of gravity. Besides a mat and blocks, straps, or a blanket that help aid in poses, there is no equipment used in yoga. You work your mind just as much as your body during a yoga session as you complete and repeat a series of poses that are typically held long enough to allow you to fall more deeply into them.

The practice of yoga is known to release stagnant energy, helps with detoxification, and gives a relaxing feeling of being centered. Yoga is restorative for the body and mind and yoga poses massage internal organs.

The Similarities between Pilates and Yoga

Part of the reason people assume Pilates and yoga are the same is due to their many similarities that include:

  • Pilates and yoga require physical and mental stamina.
  • Mats are used in both.
  • When you do a Pilates exercise or hold a yoga pose, your flexibility and balance are challenged.
  • Breathing, specifically diaphragmatic breathing, is an important element for Pilates and yoga. Yoga instructors cue you to consciously connect to your breath; in Pilates breath is used to focus attention on the exercise and effectively drive oxygen to the muscles being worked.
  • Modifications can be made to a Pilates session and yoga poses to accommodate any fitness level or injury.

5 Benefits of Doing Pilates and Yoga

Pilates and yoga also produce many of the same benefits and results for your body. Both Pilates and yoga can:

1)Strengthen and lengthen muscles

Even though yoga can work nearly every system of the body, many who practice it are focused on improving flexibility. Since Pilates helps to improve core strength, your Pilates session will give you better strength for balancing, core poses, and inversions in yoga class. Muscles are strengthened and lengthened by Pilates exercise and yoga poses.

2)Protect your body

Pilates can strengthen underutilized intrinsic muscles that are important to protect knees, shoulders, and other vulnerable or undertrained body parts when holding a yoga pose. For example, yoga has many poses that benefit the front and back of thighs, but the side-lying series in Pilates works the inner and outer muscles of the thighs. When these less-used muscles of the inner and outer thighs are strengthened, it helps stabilize your pelvis and protect your knees during yoga class.

3)Improve alignment and spine elongation

The work done in a Pilates session to educate your body on proper posture and spine alignment can help you maintain proper yoga form as well which helps prevent injury and improve results. Ultimately, posture can improve when doing yoga or Pilates.

4)Enhance mobility in joints

By consistently practicing yoga or doing Pilates, most people experience improved mobility in their joints.

5)Reduce stress

Both Pilates and yoga can be very beneficial in reducing stress.

The expert instructors at Taylor Pilates and Fitness are available to discuss your fitness goals and can help you determine the best route to take to move well, feel well, and live well. Please call or text us today at 303-472-6743 to schedule your introductory session.