Yoga VS Pilates Which One Is For You 0
in Fit on the Side Workouts

Yoga VS Pilates Which One Is For You

yoga vs pilates which one is right for you
Yoga VS Pilates which one is for you. Let me begin by saying that I am a fan of both practices and I feel that you can absolutely incorporate either one (or both) into your workout regime. That being said, Pilates has been a big part of my life for about 20+ years, first as a student then as an instructor. Also, I’m looking at the classes that you would take at a dedicated Yoga or Pilates studio and not the ones you would take at the gym. Let me be clear, I taught Pilates mat classes at the gym and they were great, but deep down I’m a big believer in the equipment this discipline uses and that you aren’t getting the full benefit unless they are a part of the workout. The same goes for Yoga.

yoga vs pilates which one is right for you


Different roots. Yoga is an over 5,000 year old practice that originated in South East Asia. It has since evolved, adapted and changed as many cultures took hold and helped shape it into the practice we see today. Pilates is much newer, having been developed in the 20th Century for rehabilitation purposes, by a man named Joseph Pilates.

Different focus. While there is a fair amount of overlap between the two practices, I would say that I go to Yoga when I need to calm my mind and I choose Pilates when I need some physical rehabilitation (in fact, it was a bad hamstring tear that first sent me to the Pilates studio). A good yoga class really pushes me to focus inward, while a good Pilates class pushes me to think of my muscles, as I work my way through the exercises.

Different breathing. While both disciplines focus on breathing, they differ quite significantly. In Pilates, you are taught to breathe into your rib cage and back, while keeping your abdominal muscles engaged. Yoga, on the other hand, teaches very deep or “belly” breathing techniques.

Different stretching.  I get frustrated when people say that Yoga focuses more on flexibility than Pilates, because this is simply untrue. What it does, however, is work on it in a different way. Yoga has more direct stretching by holding deep poses, whereas Pilates focus on relaxing your “big” muscles and engaging your supporting ones, which in turn helps to increase your flexibility. For the record, you do not need to be flexible to try either one.

Different equipment. While some yoga classes use small props such as straps and blocs, Pilates has a whole range of equipment to choose from. From reformers, to chairs to cadillacs and other small apparatus, each piece is specifically designed to help increase strength, balance and flexibility.

yoga vs pilates which one is right for you

Keep in mind that as yoga and Pilates styles differ, so do instructors and therefore this can only be a generalization of the two workout disciplines. I have taught Pilates classes using hand weights and other unconventional props when the moment called for it. There is so much more to each discipline and I encourage you to try them both in order to decide which one works best for you. Remember that a single class will only scratch the surface of these practices so give them both a fair shake before making up your mind.

As the great debate continues, which do you prefer, yoga or Pilates?


*For more on yoga vs Pilates which on is for you follow me on instagram and pinterest*

*images courtesy of Dollar Photo Club

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  1. I have only tried the basic ‘mat’ pilates, as well as an introductory yoga class, but neither has really hooked me before.
    These days I find myself in need of exercises that are both for the mind and the body, and I started doing little bits of yoga, and I really quite enjoy it. I’m pairing the few movements I’ve learned with meditation and it’s been working well.
    My only problem is that I have no way to go to classes (no availability where I live) and I end up just searching the almighty internet for tips and videos because I do want to move forward with it.
    Perhaps you could recommend something?

    1. Yes absolutely I can recommend some options! Look up they have access to unlimited online classes for around $10/month. I’ve taken a number of them and the instructors are great. Lots of levels and workouts to choose from. Also, try looking at Ballet Beautiful, they have a ton of workouts you can do at home as well! Hope this helps.

  2. I’m totally excited that you posted this! I’m a yoga girl, always have been. I do enjoy pilates but there is something about yoga that I just get addicted to. I think as a dancer I find myself drawn towards yoga for the deep stretches and as a musician towards this particular type of breath. I feel like I get the most out of a yoga session. Regardless, they’re both awesome activities and mad props to practitioners of both sides.

    1. That’s hilarious because I got addicted to Pilates through dance! I’m definitely into Pilates but on the equipment, not as crazy about mat classes.

  3. ok that last picture look scary! lol. How neat that you were a pilates instructor! I have wanted to take it in a pilates studio but have not gotten around to it. I have tried yoga probably twice and it makes me dizzy and its boring to me. I like cardio although I need to rest my mind so may retry it!

    1. Pilates is awesome! I think if you try an equipment class you would love it.

  4. Red Tag Chic Los Angeles

    I have always believed that yoga is the best for me but I am not shutting the door on trying pilates anytime soon – thanks for the heads up!


    1. I think it’s all about what you are looking for. I’m a huge fan of equipment classes.

  5. I’ve always wondered the difference between the two. I’ve never tried pilates but have been a little curious and intimidated about it. However, I love yoga! Especially hot yoga during the winter, I always feel like it calms my mind and gives me the perfect stretch too.

    xo, Jackie

    1. I really like hot Yoga in winter too. I’m working on a post that’s all about Pilates so stay tuned!

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