Comparing Pilates and Yoga


It should come as no surprise that I am an absolute LOVER of Pilates! But not everyone knows how much I enjoy my Yoga practice as well. However, as a teacher of one and a practitioner, the debate about Pilates vs Yoga is tired and most articles you’ll find on the internet are misleading.

Sure, there are some similarities and some of the benefits of Pilates and Yoga are similar. And, I’m not gonna lie I do find myself channeling Pilates in my Yoga class. But not because the exercise is similar to Pilates. I channel my Pilates in Yoga because the strength and connection of Pilates benefit my Yoga.

Pilates and Yoga share the functional movement, breathe, flexibility and strength themes to name a few. The idea of Mindful movement is integral to both practices and Pilates and Yoga can be done on a mat. But, there are also a lot of differences. And, since I am not an expert in Yoga I will spend more time on what I know about the two practices.

Pilates was first created to be done on the mat. But, the mat work is hard, we need support and to get strong enough to hold our body up and move it around. Joseph Pilates created the Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda chair and more to help stretch, strengthen and teach our bodies how to control themselves. Teach our bodies how to do the mat. He borrowed from all forms of fitness and movement including Yoga.

In Yoga, you spend a lot of time holding poses. In Ashtanga practices, you will hold poses for at least 5 breaths (or at least that is how I was taught). In Pilates there, a few “hold” but mostly you move. You are constantly moving. Challenging your body to keep it all together when you have spring tension or not, control and resisting gravity. My Yoga teachers are always talking about controlling the body coming out of each pose. I credit my Pilates practice to why I can actually do as they command. Before Pilates, I definitely couldn’t even picture what they were saying.

I actually must admit I hate the idea of anyone choosing one fitness modality over another. I love to say that Pilates helps you do everything you are already doing better. If you love Yoga, Pilates will help you do your Yoga better, stronger and you’ll love your Yoga more. If you can’t do Yoga Pilates will help you get strong enough and flexible enough to get out on that mat and flow.

Pilates and Yoga are very beneficial and both have several styles that fall under them. In Pilates, you have Classical and Contemporary. Classical traditionally follows the orders laid out by Joseph Pilates. Contemporary uses old and new Pilates exercises and each teacher has their own way of creating a class or workout. Yoga has many kinds. I myself have practiced Ashtanga, Power, Hatha, and Hot Yoga. But there are so many more. I have clients who love Kundalini and Iyengar. Instead of thinking this vs that try to find the style and the teacher that allows you to connect to whichever mat you choose!

And, lastly, I hope you don’t think Pilates Vs Yoga when it comes to your workouts and practice. But instead Pilates and Yoga or Yoga and insert workout of choice. They all have their unique qualities and traits. And you don’t need to replace one with the other. You can have it all!


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