What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?

Filed under: Pilates Info — Susan on January 12, 2010

Many people considering exercise ask ‘what is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?’ and every Pilates or Yoga instructor will have heard the question frequently. If you look at the many resources available, particularly for beginners, you may even notice some poses that appear very similar in both disciplines.

The general answer is that Yoga is more relaxing and a more spiritual discipline than Pilates, where Pilates classes in Pilates classes pilates classes Pilates classes tend to concentrate on the physical aspect, i.e. focusing on the core strength of the body, building muscle without bulk, helping recover from or prevent injury and to improve posture.

Any hard-core researcher into Pilates may read resources from Joseph Pilates, the inventor of Pilates, and would see that originally Pilates was created as a mind, body and spirit discipline as Joseph Pilates looked to improve his own back condition. Reportedly, Joseph Pilates had studied yoga himself in the past and so it makes sense that the two disciplines have something in common.

Pilates contains much more work for the abdominal and gluteus region (bottom) regions and if you use Pilates equipment in your classes, it has more shoulder work too. In yoga, you will find more balancing and relaxation poses.

One large difference is the breathing. In Pilates classes, students are taught to breathe using the diaphragm and being conscious of expanding and contracting the side of the ribcage whereas in yoga, breathing inhales and exhales through the nose, staying aware of the belly.

Modern Pilates classes focus much more on the physical aspect and improving fitness than perhaps yoga does. Probably the best way to learn about Pilates is to get to a local Pilates class in a town or village near you; at livepilates, we offer Pilates classes in Pilates classes in the Ribble Valley pilates classes Pilates classes in the Ribble Valley and Pilates classes in Lancashire pilates classes Lancashire for all sorts of levels and specialities, whether you want a pre- or post-natal Pilates classes, beginners or advanced classes or even Pilates classes for men.


  1. I teach pilates and practice yoga 3 times per week. I feel that Pilates initally called Contrology is about control in movement, body, breath and mind. Conversly, yoga is about releasing all judgement and control – accepting our poses where they are today.

    Thanks for your article.

    Comment by Julie Poplawski — January 12, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

  2. i would like to read the difference between yoga and pilates written by a yoga person as well as a pilates person.

    Comment by jane puter — January 13, 2010 @ 3:42 am

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