The difference between Yoga and Pilates

“You’re a Pilates teacher… Oh cool, I’ve done Yoga”

Great! (I hear this A LOT) I obviously love Yoga too, but it’s very different to Pilates. So let’s remove the grouping.

What is the difference?

Well, the simplest way to explain the difference is by explaining that in Pilates we teach Stability vs Mobility (more on that later) and Yoga does not teach this. In other words, Yoga will show you the desired position to encourage your body to mold to, often lots of deep stretching is applied to reach this goal. In Pilates we focus on keeping one area of the body still (stability) whilst we move another area (mobility). This makes sure that we really only work the desired area and the body doesn’t ‘cheat’ to reach a desired position.

Spinal differences

Typically in Pilates we do not compress any spinal disks. So, we only encourage natural movement of the spine. Yogis are often seen pictured with very bent backs and in Pilates we just don’t agree that that’s a good idea! Secondly a huge difference is that in Pilates we work the muscles that support joints (deep intrinsic muscles) and in yoga, although these do get some work and Yoga can also make you very strong it is more of a work out for the superficial muscles (the ones you can build up to see).

Pilates doesn’t have the spiritual connection that Yoga has either.

Which do I prefer?

I can’t answer this one! I don’t prefer either.

I love the amazing stretch, the openings, the challenge of yoga. Standing on your head is invigorating! It’s also done wonders for my mind. It’s healing in that sense. But Pilates really looks after your body. It creates sound movement patterns and strength around joints and as a result you naturally begin to move safely and with maximum efficiency plus you become more flexible without forcing movement.

I choose to practice both because they work well together for my body and my mind… Ultimately they make me happy, and isn’t that our main aim in life?:)


2 thoughts on “The difference between Yoga and Pilates

  1. Thank you for un-blurring the lines! As a complete newbie to Yoga/Pilates, this has really helped me understand which elements are most important in helping me reach my goals

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