What Is the Difference Between Pilates and Yoga?

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
  • January 15, 2024
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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 OnlinePilatesClasses.com™. 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.

How Do I Choose Between Yoga and Pilates?

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 OnlinePilatesClasses.com™, the most supportive Pilates-loving community across the globe. Enjoy new weekly classes from our amazing teachers. Download the OnlinePilatesClasses.com™ 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 OnlinePilatesClasses.com™ 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.

are you doing real pilates which one is better online pilates classes

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 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 of the 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 the benefits of Yoga. There are some that are gonna be very similar, especially if you’ve watched my video on the advantages 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.

Why I Prefer Pilates Over Yoga?

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. 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 OnlinePilatesClasses.com™. 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 9 am 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 OnlinePilatesClasses.com, 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.

Loving this Pilates exercise tutorial? Take weekly online Pilates mat classes with OPC Teachers.
Enjoying Lesley's teaching style? Willing to travel? Explore the world while maintaining your practice by joining Lesley on a Pilates retreat.

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pop up summer tour | 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:

Yes, we are focusing on Horseback in this week's workout. But, we are also giving a celebration to all of us who might be back in our Pilates saddle again. Or, maybe you've been in the Saddle but stuck in the mud. This week's workout it's designed to be a positive play time with an exercise many of us avoid and one that we may never get. But, hey, it's always fun to be out where a friend is a friend - get it? If you know the song you do!

Mat: Theraband and light weights
Reformer: no props needed

See ya in class,
xx~LL 💋

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Theraband, 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.


    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Shoulder Bridge has multiple phases. It's a phenomenal replacement exercise and also can be a huge challenge. You can balance your asymmetries while also revealing them. It's an exercise that can warm you up and can be part of an advanced series. This week we'll focus on exercises that benefit from Shoulder Bridge and what Shoulder Bridge is telling us about our practice that day.

    Mat: magic circle for the warm up. If you don't have a circle a ball and a theraband.
    Reformer: no prop needed but can use a theraband or circle for short box

    See ya in class,
    xx-LL 💋

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, magic circle, a ball, a theraband and a mat!

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

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a theraband or circle for short box and a reformer!

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


    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    So many people don't love the 100. But the 100 is an incredible exercise that when you know all its capabilities can be something you might look forward to...maybe even like a little bit. Or a lot!

    We often wonder why the 100 is the first exercise. I mean, it's got a lot going on for a warm up. To me it's a survey, a feedback, a mirror to how our body is doing that day. And, how cool it is to know how your body is feeling as you go into your practice. This way you can explore what your body needs in other exercises.

    Let's explore what the 100 is telling us and how to make it our own each day!

    No props needed.

    See ya in class,
    xx-LL 💋

      MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self 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 Pilates Class Descriptions:

      The key to longevity is being able to get down to the ground and up again with as little assistance as possible. In this weeks class we are going to focus on how to stand in your feet no matter where they are in space.

      On the Mat we will have a playful ending that Joseph Pilates would do!

      The Reformer we’ll end challenging ourselves standing on our carriage. (Options to do the exercises off the Reformer too!)

      No props needed.

      See ya in class,

      xx~LL 💋

      MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self 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:

      Hello, it's OPC Teacher Christine here! I used to get commended for my form and flexibility in any type of movement class I went to, even if it was my very first class. But what I struggled with was always hitting a plateau where I couldn't make progress or improvement. For me, that changed when I discovered the strength and control I found in practicing Pilates.

      Getting on the apparatuses puts your body in a position where you find strength, stretch, and control through your center. I was unable to fold my body like origami anymore. One of the mat exercises - double leg stretch - is great for finding a strong center regardless of what the arms and legs are doing.

      For this month, we'll explore using the concept of finding an inner lift of the belly away from the thighs to find a strength in our center, the two-way stretch of the limbs, while controlling the movement of the arms and legs whether they move away from center, or come back to center.

      Mat class: Magic Circle and squishy ball

      See you in class,


      HANG 10


      Grip strength as well as upper body strength plays an important role in so many different exercises throughout the mat and all apparatus. Our grip can influence the connection from our wrists - to our arms - to our back. And building strength in our chest and upper back can help us connect more to our center in every exercise.

      All month long we’ll explore the feeling, the strength, and the position of our hands and upper body to see how our exercises change with a little extra focus. We’ll also play with ways to gain more strength and awareness in our chest and upper back to create even more connections to the exercises.

      Chair - short pole* and a foam roller for balance
      *A thicker pole or roll down bar size might feel nice, but no worries you’ll find your connections no matter what you have on hand!
      Mat: a pole
      Reformer: No props needed
      Cadillac: No props needed

      See ya in class,
      xx-LL 💋


      Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

      Finding some love for Roll Up and Open Leg Rocker isn't easy! But, these two exercises unlock the potential for so many other exercises. And what we don't like we often need. So, let's dive into what we need to rock our Roll Ups and Open leg Rockers and see how that changes the rest of our practice in the meantime.

      Mat: Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband
      Reformer: have your shortbox pole near by


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

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

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

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