Yoga Vs. Pilates – Which One Is Right For You_

Yoga vs Pilates – the key differences and benefits


Pilates and are two excellent tools for developing multiple aspects of your and fitness. They share many similarities but also have some important differences.

and Pilates are both low-impact workouts that focus on using your body-weight resistance.

The and mental benefits are vast. Both workouts can increase overall , leading to a better quality of life.

We will look at Pilates and yoga in detail, compare some of their key aspects and help you decide which one is best for you.

As with any performing any exercise, developing the proper form is important. Remember: Do No Harm!

If you have any physical limitations. make the proper modifications.

Mental Fitness

While both Pilates and yoga believe that mental fitness is important, yoga has the edge in this area. Pilates develops your mental fitness by focusing on proper breathing and concentration.

This helps you become more mentally aware of your body’s movements and gives you greater control over them.

Yoga takes this a step further by incorporating periods of stillness and meditation which calm your mind, lower your stress levels and allow you to find inner peace.

Calories Burned

An average Pilates class burns through 350 calories per hour [1]. The amount of calories burned during a yoga class varies considerably depending on the style of yoga.

For example, a Hatha yoga class works off less than 200 calories per hour on average whereas a Bikram yoga class can blast through over 650 calories in an hour. So if fat burning is important to you, an intense style of yoga is the better choice.

(Calorie calculations are based on a 150lb person)

Muscles Targeted

Both yoga and Pilates work all the muscles in your body. However, most styles of yoga give your muscles a much lighter workout than Pilates. In addition to giving your muscles a better workout,

Pilates also places more emphasis on your core muscles than yoga with every movement flowing from the center of your body.

Therefore, Pilates is the best choice if you want to maximize your core stability and overall strength levels.


Pilates and yoga involve lots of stretching and flexibility exercises. However, yoga generally involves deeper stretches and holding poses for longer. As a result, yoga has a better long term effect on your flexibility than Pilates.


There are two major forms of Pilates – Classical/Traditional Pilates and Modern Pilates.

Classical/Traditional Pilates strictly adheres to the original teachings of Joseph Pilates whereas Modern Pilates alters these teachings into many different styles. Although there are many different styles of Modern Pilates, Classical/Traditional Pilates is seen as the only true style.

Yoga on the other has a large number of true styles.

Hatha Yoga is the most popular style in the US but there are also lots of other types of yoga to choose from including Ashtanga Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Fertility Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Power Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga.

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Yoga and Pilates Similarities

Both yoga and Pilates can be done at home with little equipment.

They require only the use of a mat and a few additional props like a block or a Pilates ring, if you feel it helps.

They both focus on breath concentration while exercising and emphasize breathing deep into the belly.

Both yoga and Pilates require a proper mental focus/concentration and can help reduce your stress.

They can also be tailored to different levels according to personal needs.


If you want to develop your core strength, Pilates is probably going to be your preferred option. If you’d rather focus on full-body flexibility and calming your mind, yoga is likely to be right for you.

However, before you make your final decision, try a class of each so that you can fully experience what Pilates and yoga have to offer and make your decision first hand.

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