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Pilates versus Yoga – what’s the diff?

March 6, 2011



Pilates versus Yoga – what’s the diff?

Read through the diagram, really good breakdown of the differences. Here’s a text breakdown of the major contrasts just in case you can’t see the words in the enlarged photo:

1. Histories: The origin of yoga is somewhat unclear, but evidence shows that it may have been practiced as early as 3000 B.C. in areas that are now India and Pakistan. Yoga has been developed mainly through the religious practices of Hinduism and Buddhism. Pilates has a much shorter history, being developed by Joseph H. Pilates after he served as a nurse in World War I.

2. Philosophies: Both yoga and Pilates embrace the importance of the mind in controlling the body. There is a difference in that yoga seeks to achieve a balance between body, mind and spirit, coming from its religious roots. Pilates maintains a mind-body approach to improve physical fitness.

3. Poses: Many of the core poses of Pilates and yoga are the same or very similar. And the intent of the poses is the same in Pilates and yoga, which both use the poses to focus the body and mind — and spirit in yoga — so they are in union; this, in turn, allows a person to perform the movement or pose in the best possible way. The intent differs from many traditional exercise routines that focus on the completion of an exercise or movement and not on the performance of the movement.

4. Equipment: Yoga requires very little equipment. A yoga mat is the only essential piece of yoga equipment, with yoga blocks and belts being nice additions for beginners. Yoga balls are sometimes used, as well, to help develop better balance. Pilates equipment is much more frequently used. Although several Pilates exercises can be done with only a mat, Pilates machines allow for a much wider variation of poses and movements.

5. Benefits: The poses used in yoga and Pilates improve flexibility, strength and body control. Most practitioners also claim stress relief as a major benefit of both exercises.

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4 thoughts on “Pilates versus Yoga – what’s the diff?”

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  1. AYM Goa says:

    The Yoga Teacher Training in Goa is to move towards greater and greater understanding and experience of the connectivity of all life. It is the blurring and inevitable extinction of the notion of a small and individual self.

    Learn more:

  2. Rama says:

    Dear Author, There are few things I am not clear about. The origin of Yoga is from India and Pakistan. As per my knowledge it was always India. If you have any information on originated from Pakistan then plz share the article.Secondly, Yoga is highly spiritual and no religion involved , as we do not chant about any specific God as such. I am a Yoga instructor and trying to study more about yoga. So, it will always be nice if we research more before preaching on the subject.Thank you

  3. Laura says:

    Thank you very much for this article. I started doing Pilates when I came across your videos on and then I got interested in yoga and wanted to know the difference. The picture and explanations are very clear! I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your videos and your blog posts. I like the recipe lists for food as well. I think that is my main issue. I’m rather active but I love eating too! Are there any low calorie ways to still eat ice cream? Lol.

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