So what IS the difference between Pilates & Yoga?

As a Pilates Instructor and I get asked this question all the time.

Just so you know, I’m a fan of both.

However I’ve only made Yoga part of my regular routine in the last few years.

Prior to that, I dabbled, but never stuck at it. Maybe it was because I couldn’t find the right teacher or style for me.

These are two really important parts of any practice – Pilates or Yoga. Unless you connect with your teacher or the style of teaching, you probably won’t commit to it. 

In saying all that, I think you also have to be ready to begin. We are all ready for things at different times. I think that was part of my reason for not sticking to Yoga sooner…..’When the student is ready the teacher appears’

So, I have a theory; we all gravitate to what our body actually needs.

Our body instinctively knows what it needs, at the right time. 

For example, I am quite a flexible/mobile person, due to being a dancer when I was young, keeping up Pilates and a good stretch routine. Also, because I’ve had a few injuries in my time, the body just doesn’t hold together as it used to anymore, unless I keep up regular strengthening exercises.

So I really NEED Pilates to keep my body strong and to support me through all the activities I enjoy! I really love Yoga, however for me it’s in moderation (depending on the style I’m practicing) or I become too mobile.

Some people can probably practice Yoga all day every day. I believe it’s dependent on our individual body type and previous injuries (if any). It also depends on what style of yoga you choose.

There are many different styles in both Yoga and Pilates. Some are more calm and relaxing, some more vigorous and challenging.

You must pick what your body is asking for and guiding you towards …‘Listen to your inner teacher’. 

Here are some of the similarities and 5 key differences between the two….

Similarities between Pilates & Yoga

Both help to:

  • Increase body awareness
  • Help concentration
  • Improve posture and alignment of body
  • Help prevent and rehabilitate from injuries

Differences between Pilates & Yoga


  1. Focuses on strengthening – especially the core and smaller stabilizing muscles of the joins. Pilates works the body with a stable base of support.
  2. Is a more physical form of exercise with a focus on the both and living a health lifestyle
  3. Pilates is dynamic and usually keeps you moving. There is less holding poses and stretches. Although there are various styles that do add stretches.
  4. Pilates is uses for rehabilitation with great success, and often works alongside physiotherapy. Depending on the style of Pilates is offers modifications suitable for injury and can be tailored to most body types. Sometimes props or equipment are used to help rehabilitation.
  5. Developed by German born, Joseph H. Pilates during World War 1. He drew influences from Yoga and many other forms of exercises such as martial arts, acrobatics and weight lifting.


  1. Focuses more on stretching, flexibility and strength. It’s focus is more so looking at the whole body as the core (again depending on the style you practice).
  2. Yoga has a far more spiritual element as well as physical and also focuses on breath and a healthy lifestyle.
  3. Yoga (depending on the style) can be dynamic and have a flow, yet can also focus on holding poses and stretches.
  4. Yoga is also great for rehabilitation, and sometimes also needs to be modified depending on your specific injury. Some yoga styles are better suited for rehabilitation or modifying for your specific body type, such as Iyengar. Yoga also uses props to modify.
  5. Yoga originated in India. The Yoga Sutras (aphorisms or sentences) were written about 2000 years ago by a sage (someone who has attained wisdom) called Pantanjali.

Hope this helps you to understand the difference.

Let me know your thoughts and experiences with Pilates & Yoga in the comments below!


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