YOGA VS PILATES -What’s the difference?

Feb 23, 2022 | Uncategorized

If you’re already a Pilates instructor, it’s more than likely you’ve been asked what the difference between yoga and pilates is, by participates who are newer to the wellness space. There are some common misconceptions out there about both practises, so we’re here to help offer some clarity!


When it comes to the origin of each discipline, they couldn’t be more different.

Yoga is a much more ancient practise. It was born in India over 5000 years ago with the intention of evolving human connectedness with the universe through movement. Relatively, Pilates is a much younger discipline, having been created just over 100 years ago by Joseph Pilates. He

stablished the discipline during world war 1 with the intention of helping injured solders recover through low impact strengthening and mobility work.

Movement GOALS:

One of the key principles of Pilates, with the concept of the ‘powerhouse’. Joseph Pilates strongly believed that it was important to maintain a strong core, or ‘powerhouse’ through core centering focused movements. Some of the other principles Joseph Pilates developed as part of his discipline included breath, concentration, control, precision, and flow. 

The goals of yoga include more of a meditative and spiritual practise in order to develop higher consciousness through movement. The purpose of yoga includes finding greater harmony in the mind and body, and with the universe around us. 

Types of Practise:

The types of pilates available are significantly varied with many different class styles from strength, mobility, flow, or even cardio oriented classes, using many different forms of equipment options.

There are also many different styles of yoga, each with a different focus, but the same underlying principles of connection with self and the universe. Some of the more common styles include vinyasa, hatha, ashtanga, bikram, and yin.


Yoga is generally mat based, but can also include the use of small equipment such as a block to deepen mobility and assist with balance, a bolster pillow to increase support and comfort during meditation or sustained stretching, or a strap which may help deepen stretching.

Pilates originated to also be mat based. In current times, mat pilates can also utilise small equipment such as the small pilates ball which can challenge stability and offer resistance, the magic circle which can offer resistance, small hand weights which can add load to strengthening focused exercises, and the resistance band which can add resistance to movements, or assist with mobility and stretching. Reformer and larger studio equipment such as the cadillac and wonder chair is also available for Pilates practise.

As you can see, there are a number of differences, when comparing both wellness disciplines. However, there are also a number of similarities. Both practises are relatively low or non impact and offer a strong focus on alignment, mobility, and the value of breath work. Both practises also appreciate the mind body connection when it comes to movement. 

Both practises offer incredible variations of benefits in the fitness and wellness space.

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