Yoga and Pilates both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Both are low-impact physical fitness systems that use bodyweight resistance to work out. Both increase physical health (as well as mental health) and result in a better quality of life.

If you’re here to decide between Yoga and Pilates, peruse to understand what exactly the difference is between the two.

Yoga Vs Pilates: Explained!

The exact roots of Yoga are unknown, but Patanjali is considered the father of Yoga. It includes physical, mental, and spiritual practices. The main goal of Yoga is Moksha (liberation).

Joseph Pilates developed Pilates for rehabilitation purposes. That is, soldiers returning from war and many dancers were the first people on whom Pilates was used as a treatment. Pilates include small movements that help in developing longer and leaner muscles of the back and core.

Young woman stretching arms before exercise

Advantages of Yoga and Pilates

Advantages of Yoga

Yoga takes into account 5 different domains. These are:

  • Relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Positive thinking
  • Exercising
  • Diet

Following are some of the benefits of Yoga:

  • Increase flexibility and posture
  • Improved respiration
  • Improved cardiovascular and circulatory health
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved mental health

Not only do Yoga brings about a change in these domains, but it can also have positive effects of several serious medical conditions such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Breast cancer
  • Menopause
  • Arthritis
  • Respiratory problems
  • Chronic back pain

But these are not all. There are several other advantages Yoga can bring into your life.

Advantages of Pilates

Pilates, on the other hand, is unique too. Following are some of the health benefits one can expect out of Pilates:

  • Improved posture and flexibility
  • A better balance of muscular strength
  • Relaxation of shoulder, neck, and back
  • Decreased joint pain
  • Increased lung capacity
  • Increased concentration and awareness
  • Reduced stress

Like Yoga, Pilates can also serve as an essential treatment program for many medical conditions. Some of them are:

  • Back pain
  • Joint injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Respiratory conditions

Requirements for Yoga and Pilates

Yoga is mostly done on a yoga mat. Pilates can be done on a mat or specialized equipment. Different types of Pilates differ mainly based on what kind of equipment is used. Various types of Yoga are also present.

In both cases, proper training is mandatory to avoid injuries and other problems. Pilates can be a little expensive when compared to Yoga.

Similarities between Yoga and Pilates

  • Both Yoga and mat Pilates can be done with no or little equipment. However, Pilates can be performed on many other types of equipment and differ in the energy level required and the complexity of exercises.
  • Both these low-impact workouts focus on breathing patterns. They promote diaphragmatic breathing.
  • Both yoga and Pilates help reduce stress. Deep breathing and mindfulness are key features in Yoga. Yoga focuses on uniting the mind, body, and spirit. Though Pilates also works on relaxation techniques, they focus on the core of the body. When the core part is focused, others can move freely. This balance will enhance strength and flexibility, resulting in stronger and leaner muscles.

Which is better?

There is no specific workout that is guaranteed to provide you the best outcomes. However, both yoga and Pilates have been found to aid in weight loss.

Pilates can be great for older adults as they include small movements (advanced Pilates are also there). Therefore, those recovering from small movements can benefit from Pilates.

Yoga plays an important role in healing the mind and body. It is considered as a therapeutic activity. The reason why most people choose Yoga is that it dramatically enhances mental health. Happiness. Isn’t it what we all want?

For back pain, both these workouts can bring about amazing results, provided that you have an excellent trainer and knowledge.

Yoga improves the body and joints’ flexibility while Pilates focuses on the core of the body, resulting in stronger and leaner muscles.

Which should I choose for maximum weight loss? Yoga or Pilates?

Sadly, no one can guarantee that one of these will successfully help you lose weight. The best decision is to try them both and carefully evaluate their results on you. Consulting your doctor or trainer is another great way to decide which one’s best for you.

Some people have benefitted from Yoga and another group from Pilates as well. It all depends on how well your body adapts to these low-impact workouts.


Always remember not to perform Yoga or Pilates without proper assistance. Unless you’re sure what you are doing is right, do not practice these without appropriate training. This is because certain postures and activities can seriously injure muscles and joints if done in the wrong way.

A certified instructor or video tutorial can help you get the maximum outcome from these exercises. Keep in mind that consistency is essential. Work hard, and you’ll get the results. Good luck.