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Future Fit Traning

What is the difference between Pilates & Yoga?

Several factors can be considered key differences between Pilates and Yoga. To put it simply, Yoga involves more exercises and movements which help improve flexibility and stability. Pilates, on the other hand, focuses on movements that benefit strength and stability. Both forms of exercise have similarities and differences, and we will explore some of these below.


Level 3 Mat Pilates Instructor Course practical sessions

What is Pilates?


Pilates was created in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Initially, this was primarily developed as rehabilitation for injured soldiers to regain their health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilising key muscles.

Pilates uses more precise movements to achieve:

  • Correct alignment
  • Centring
  • Concentration
  • Breathing
  • Flow

As a form of exercise.


Joseph Pilates stated that both mental and physical health were essential to each other.

What is Yoga?


Yoga was created over 3000 years ago to connect human consciousness with the universal consciousness through physical activity. The purpose of Yoga was to help improve physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

Similar to Pilates, Yoga also focuses on the flexibility of broad muscle groups. However, this is carried out therapeutically.

Mind connection & breathing techniques


While both forms of exercise are used to relieve stress and focus on the mind, Yoga places much more profound meaning on the mind and body connection. Yoga will use the body to connect to the mind and the inner self. This follows the spiritual element within Yoga. On the other hand, Pilates uses mindfulness to connect to the inner workings of the body.


This is mainly from people using the exercise to concentrate and control their breathing. When participating in Yoga, the breathing exercises aim to achieve relaxation, which results from continuous concentration. This will reach areas that are tight with stress and attempt to relieve that stress with relaxation.


Pilates breathing technique’s help target muscles whilst providing them with the energy they need to exercise effectively. The concentration whilst breathing throughout Pilates helps manage the oxygen coming into the body. This is controlled to reach the muscles which need to relax.


foam roller

Physical health


Yoga and Pilates are both low impact workouts that have different variations available throughout gyms and studios. Both forms of exercise focus on bodyweight resistance to increase overall health and improve quality of life.

Pilates focuses on small movements which require stabilisation from the muscles of the back and core. In turn, this is beneficial to improve overall strength and endurance. Whilst carrying out these small movements, there is a strong emphasis on the controlled breath, which begins the contraction of the core muscles.

Yoga is centred around five essential beliefs:

  1. Relaxation
  2. Exercise
  3. Breathing
  4. Positive thinking
  5. Meditation

This is achieved through mindfulness and deep breathing whilst holding various poses and flowing through a series of movements.

Yoga can be classed as a form of mind-body fitness. It considers physical activity with a focus on the mind.


Mat work


Pilates is a collection of thirty-four exercises that you can carry out with or without equipment. Most Pilates movements can be carried out on a mat alone. However, more specialised equipment is unique with its use of springs, levers, and body weight to initiate resistance.


Yoga is also mainly performed as mat exercises without having to use additional equipment. However, there are opportunities to venture out with yoga equipment to improve your flexibility and positioning within specific movements. Yoga blocks are brick-shaped props made of foam or cork, which acts as additional support to holding your position.


Pilates Instructor in downward dog pose

Final Thoughts


Both yoga and Pilates are unique forms of exercise that have both similarities and differences. The overall goal is to improve body and mind wellness by relieving stress, relaxing muscles, and improving overall health.


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