Yoga vs Pilates: The Difference and Unique Benefits

What is the difference between Pilates and yoga? Join our online Pilates classes to pick which practice is the best one for you.

  • Author: Lesley Logan
  • August 6, 2023
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yoga vs pilates online pilates classes
yoga vs pilates online pilates classes

Yoga vs Pilates

You might be asking yourself: What’s the difference between Pilates and yoga? What are the benefits of Pilates and yoga? Which is better: Pilates or yoga?

Yoga and Pilates are often considered similar practices. However, they’re actually very different methods. They’re very different practices, and they actually have different intentions and different benefits for you. Today, we’re going to discuss the differences. And that way you can pick which practice is the best one for you.

Hi, I’m Lesley Logan, founder of™. I’ve been doing Pilates for over 20 years and teaching it since 2008. I’ve been lucky enough to learn from some of the best Pilates instructors out there, including one who study with Joseph Pilates. And so today as I talk to you about yoga versus Pilates, or yoga and Pilates, and which one you should do, here’s the deal, I love Pilates. I’m obviously going to be pro-Pilates on this, but I also do practice yoga. So I hope that you’ll find a really understanding way to choose the right practice for you, or maybe both.

What’s the difference between Pilates and yoga?

So why do people confuse Pilates and yoga? Honestly, I think it came from people trying to understand what Pilates was. It’s like, oh, well, they’re doing similar moves to yoga. But actually, only part of Pilates is on a mat. There’s all these other pieces of equipment. And while I love the mat, and I believe that everyone should have a mat practice, it is only one part of the Pilates practice. We’re gonna get to those nuances in just a second. But before we do, welcome to this channel. Hi, I’m Lesley Logan, I’m so excited that you’re here. We have tutorials, full-length classes, and I love having videos like this where we really educate you on what Pilates is, all the different things you need to know about it, and how it can work for you.

Welcome to™, the most supportive Pilates-loving community across the globe. Enjoy new weekly classes from our amazing teachers. Download the™ app today.

What is Pilates?

Alright, so first, let’s talk about “What is Pilates?” because that helps us understand the differences with “What is yoga?”. Pilates is a strength-based practice, first and foremost. It’s designed to balance your imbalances. It helps you really move from your center outward, you connect to all of your muscles before you do anything. And it can be done on the mat, but also on the reformer, Cadillac, Wunda chair and so many other pieces of equipment. In fact, you can see all those in free tutorials that we have in several classes. Because Pilates is a low-impact workout, it does get lumped in with a lot of different low-impact exercises, like yoga, but also just other kinds of exercises you can do. Pilates is very different than those things. Just because it’s low impact doesn’t mean it’s the same. It really is an exercise practice that’s designed to work from your core outward first. And in our channel, we actually have another video called The Truth about Pilates, you can check out in our show notes as well. I do go into more details about what Pilates is.

Are you doing real Pilates?

But you should understand first and foremost that Pilates also is quality over quantity. And so you know you’re doing real Pilates when there’s a quality of movement emphasis versus a quantity of reps. If you are in a class where you’re doing 20 reps, it’s not really Pilates, you want to be doing less than 10 reps, really three to five is the sweet spot. And every exercise should be full-body all of the time as opposed to spot training. So if you are doing real Pilates, that is what it’s going to feel like and you will probably be on a variety of different pieces of equipment whether on the mat, reformer, Cadillac, tower, Wunda chair, etc. You are picking, hopefully picking the apparatuses that work best for your practice at that time with yourself on your own or with a teacher. At™ we actually have classes based on the type of equipment people have access to, we can help hold you accountable to your practice by providing new classes and taking old classes away. If you want to learn more about OPC check out this video here we also have in the show notes will explain everything that we do OPC and why we rock at it.

What is yoga?

So, what is yoga? First of all, I wanted to say I am not a certified yoga instructor. So if I get any of this wrong, forgive me. I’m coming at this as a person who’s practiced yoga for many years, Yoga has more spiritual lien to its practice. It is strength-based as well, depending on the teacher or the style you work with. There are different types of yoga practices that you can do. And when you are choosing yoga, what I highly recommend is that you try out the different styles and find the yoga practices right for you. Make sure that you are finding a yoga teacher who has been certified, you can check all those credentials out with them and find someone who actually can work with your body and what your goals are.

Benefits of Pilates

All right, so let’s talk about the benefits of Pilates. Holy moly, where do I start? First of all, it is going to balance your imbalances, it is going to strengthen the muscles that are not often used, because your dominant ones are often used in life. It is going to prevent injury because it does that. If you are super flexible, you will find that Pilates actually pulls you together, you’re not going to be this person who’s just like a bag of bones. And, if you’re super tight, you will get flexibility. And the goal of Pilates is to make sure that you have a balance of strength and stretch. That’s incredible benefit that will help you in life and everything that you want to do. If you want to know more about the benefits of Pilates, we actually do have a full video of that. You can see it in the show notes below and check it out to get more in-depth on all the benefits of Pilates. But, another thing is we have the mental benefits, posture, and this mind-body connection. So it’s really amazing for someone who is needing to get a full body workout in but doesn’t have a lot of time and you want to get meditation in, you kind of combine all of them when you do Pilates practice.

Benefits of yoga

Alright, so benefits of Yoga. There are some that are gonna be very similar, especially if you’ve watched my video on the benefits of Pilates, you’re going to notice that there are a few that are similar, which is, reduces lower back pain, increases flexibility, reduces stress, enhances sleep.

Why should you do Pilates?

Alright, so let’s talk about why you should do Pilates. Besides the fact that I think it’s amazing, you should love it, you should also make the decision for yourself. If you want to work on your balance, if you are really wanting to have better posture, better digestion, better sleep, reduced headaches, and have a lot more mindfulness in your life. Pilates can help you do all of those things, because it is a mind-body connection practice. And because of Pilates’ variety of apparatus and tools and over 500 exercises, Pilates can actually meet you where you are at any age, and at any place in your fitness level. So if you’ve never worked out, or you’re coming back from injury, Pilates is it actually going to be able to meet you where you are, and take you where you want to grow.

What I love about Pilates

Alright, so what I love the most about Pilates, it’s actually not Pilates versus anything. It’s Pilates AND. If you want to do yoga, if you want to do any other fitness regimen, Pilates is actually going to make you the most safe, most strongest version of yourself in those practices. You will actually be able to take what you learn about how to move from your center outwards. Take the balance of strength and stretch and apply it to your yoga practice, whichever yoga practice style you decide to use. And so, why should you do Pilates? Because it actually will make your yoga practice better. Yoga + Pilates. One more thing on this because Pilates is equally about strength and flexibility… What this allows you to do when you go into a yoga practice that can seem like it’s all about flexibility is, you can actually take the strength with you, and really help enhance what you’re going to get out of your yoga practice.

Give Pilates a Try

Alright, so whether you’re new to Pilates or deciding if Pilates or yoga is right for you, what I’d love for you to do is check us out at™. We have certified instructors, we have amazing classes for all levels on whatever piece of equipment you have access to. And you can try us out here for free. And then don’t forget to join us on Sunday at 9am Pacific Time on our YouTube channel where I answer your questions. Have an amazing day. Thank you so much for being here.

By Lesley Logan

Lesley Logan, NCPT, is the founder of, the first free online catalogue of Pilates exercise tutorial videos, where you can also find weekly online mat classes and workshops. When not teaching from her studio in Los Angeles, Lesley can be found traveling the world leading Pilates retreats, or offering Pilates business coaching to studio owners and other instructors through her private mastermind group. Connect with Lesley on instagram @lesley.logan or through the contact page on this site.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are “affiliate links”, a link with a special tracking code. This means if you click on an affiliate link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. The price of the item is the same whether it is an affiliate link or not. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers. By using the affiliate links, you are helping support our Website, and we genuinely appreciate your support.

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Swan & Swimming on the mat - online Pilates classes



Teaser is probably one of the most photographed exercises in Pilates. Which makes people think it's a "peak pose." But, it's anything but! It's simply another layer to your Pilates practice. This week we will acknowledge how each exercise contributes to your ability to do Teaser (someday) and then how Teaser teaches you where to get curious in your practice.

On the Mat we will use light weights for one round of Teaser as they can be helpful for those still adding into their practice.
No props on the Reformer.

See you in class,


MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a Mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a Reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.



We are all going to feel like Super Humans after this month!!

Whenever I’m in a hard exercise (for me) where I’m holding myself up with my arms and reaching my legs away I picture myself with super human strength!!! I can do ANYTHING! It makes me smile and helps me stay STRONG.

This month our exercise is Up Stretch and when you think about it - reaching your legs away and staying strong over the carriage may feel a lot like flying!

We’ll be focusing on stabilizing our strong cores while staying equally balanced in our arms and legs. We are giving you some amazing building blocks by merging strength and stretch in all directions. You are going to get a little bit of everything that you can use to connect to your Up Stretch (and even your Roll Up and Knee Stretches Off).

Chair: Please have a foam roller and a balance pad available. We are going to challenge your balance safely.



Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Alright loves, while we don't often talk about Grasshopper on the Mat or Reformer it is something we can beat those heels together on. And, another great way to challenge our connections. This week we are going to focus on our midline. And we are going to find different ways to show that we got that beat!

On the Mat have a magic circle or ball nearby to find our midline connections. On the Reformer have a ball nearby for some warm ups.

See you in class,

xx-LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a Magic Circle or ball and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a ball and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.


Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

This week's workout is 30 minute reformer and mat with the small Pilates ball! Get ready to work! The ball adds a stability challenge on the reformer and spices up the classic, essential exercises. You'll also get extra outer hip recruitment, inner thigh work and more glute activation by adding in the ball. I hope you have a great time with this fun workout and feel like a baller afterwards!

If you do not have a small Pilates ball you can use a rolled up bath towel.

See you in class,


MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a Pilates ball or rolled up bath towel and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a Pilates ball or rolled up bath towel and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.


Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Rowing exercises are quite challenging on the Reformer. They can be done on the mat as well. But if you're missing the connections they can be all choreography and no core. So, this week we'll be focusing on the Mat how the Mat exercises prep us for a fabulous Rowing. And on the Reformer how they warm us up but then reveal themselves throughout the session.

Basically, you're rowing even when you're not!

On the Mat, you'll want 1 or 2 lb weights. Over the Reformer if you're new to rowing have them on the side.

See ya in class,

xx-LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, 1 or 2 lb weights and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, 1 or 2 lb weights and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.


Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

While I never saw that movie growing up I was thinking about back bends. And how to build up to them. Now, if you're like LL I'm off back extension. Do not worry. This class will still have tall backs, side bends, twists and flexion of course. So skip what you can't do.

Whatever level of extension you can do we are going to take it and make it longer! And for some of my super flexy people, it might feel like you're not gumby anymore. However, we will create the strongest back bends ever! Always.

Props needed on the mat a bolster or a small barrel. On the Reformer we won't need a prop but we will be using our shortbox to focus on extension.

See ya in class!

xx-LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a bolster or a small barrel and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, shortbox and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.


Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

If you are a lover of the Reformer chances are you have little love for the Horseback. I don't blame you. It's not that fun. If you're on the Mat you probably have no idea what this means…

And that's ok! Horseback is like a seated Teaser but harder!

On both the Mat and Reformer we will be playing with how to connect to this exercise, prepare for it and find a Horse that works for us!

Props: Mat, have light weights nearby

See ya in class,

xx-LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, have light weights nearby and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.


Online Mat, Reformer, Cadillac & Wunda Chair Pilates Class Descriptions:

Tami is turning 54 this month! And we are going to bring the best that Studio 54 had to offer to all of our month-long classes. The only rules for that iconic club were:

1. Be Your Grandest Self
2. Have Fun
3. No polyester Shirts!

Doesn’t that sound just like just like OPC?

*Note: I’m thinking the focus is on being grand…finding ways to expand our range of movement throughout the exercises, on all the equipment and the Mat.

Let’s be our grandest as we expand our range of motion on the Wunda! We’ll be using variations of the Pull Up (a very centering exercise) to power us up & out to a special full range exercise at the end! To all the October babies A Happy Birthday Indeed!

Wunda Chair prop: Please bring a pair of light weights (1-3lbs) to class!

See ya in class,

xx-LL 💋



We spend a lot of time in life looking ahead to what’s next and/or working towards something instead of celebrating where we are in the current moment. We forget to look back and see how far we’ve come.

It got the OPC crew thinking about how we tend to do this with our Pilates practice, too. We are always working towards something…the nemesis exercise, a higher lift in an exercise, a longer reach, a stronger connection, etc.

How about we spend some time this month celebrating where we are each day? And maybe we even take ourselves back a touch and become a bit De-RANGED from our current practice?

“De-Ranged” meaning we reduce our range of motion and observe what happens. Reducing our range may help us gain some insights about ourselves we can use to take our practice farther this month and into the beyond.

This month, we are challenging ourselves and YOU to take a look at where you are while you decrease your range and see if you learn something about yourself - without ANY judgment!

Try asking yourself some of the questions below throughout your practice:

  • Is this making the exercise more or less challenging?
  • Is this making things more or less stable?
  • Am I finding a connection a bit more easily or is it harder?
  • Am I finding a muscle that is trying to take over the exercise?
  • Am I finding I have to focus more to get a muscle to engage/connect?
  • Am I finding an area that is a bit tight and needs a little more stretch?

Feel free to share your reflections and ask us questions this month if you are wondering what any of this means in your body!

Props needed:
For the Cadillac, have a 2x4 (Kuna board) and the long box (from the reformer)

For the Reformer: small ball, resistance band, and small weights. Resistance band will be optional and is only for 1 exercise.

For the Chair, just you and your Wunda chair.

For the Mat, thera band and weights.

See ya in class,

xx-LL 💋