Difference Between Yoga and Pilates

The main difference between Yoga and Pilates is that Yoga is a type of exercise that focuses on linking the human body with the human mind and the human spirit, whereas Pilates mainly targets strengthening the functioning of the entire physical body along with the mind.

You need to consider several important factors when you are trying to make a decision on the type of exercise you are going to follow. Whether it is Yoga or Pilates, the one that you choose will ultimately become a significant part of your life. Therefore, this decision should be made by thinking about the results that you would like to achieve.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Yoga 
      – Definition, Features, Benefits
2. What is Pilates
     – Definition, Features, Benefits
3. Difference Between Yoga and Pilates
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Pilates, YogaDifference Between Yoga and Pilates - Comparison Summary

What is Yoga

Yoga is a type of exercise we use to connect the physical body with the mind and the spirit. Yoga instructors usually consider the mind and the body as a single structure. Therefore, if the Yoga techniques are employed within the appropriate environment, it becomes a productive way to heal your physical body and render you mental harmony. This is the main reason Yoga has become a popular therapeutic activity. Most significantly, Yoga augments your body’s flexibility and promotes relaxation even if you are struggling to cross the most stressful boundaries of your life. In brief, many people engage in Yoga exercises as a mode of reducing stress.

Yoga vs Pilates

It’s important to keep in your mind that different Yoga poses address different needs and purposes. Yoga typically does not need any machines or props; all you need is a yoga mat or an exercise mat.  

What is Pilates

Pilates is a type of exercise which aims at augmenting physical and mental wellbeing.  However, when you are engaged in Pilates, unlike in Yoga, apart from the mat work, you may use different exercise machines like the reformer, wunda chair, spine corrector, small barrel, tower, etc.

Compare Yoga and Pilates

Pilates basically works the whole body in addition to the mind. However, when you are engaged in Pilates, your focus would be on the core of the body. Therefore, the rest of the body may move freely. This would ultimately make both your body and the mind stronger. If you are a Pilates practitioner, there is a balance that is meant to exist between strength and flexibility, allowing your leaner muscles to get stronger.

Difference Between Yoga and Pilates


Yoga is a therapeutic exercise that attempts to establish the physical, mental and spiritual harmony of human beings while Pilates is an exercise using special equipment designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture and improve mental awareness.


Yoga does not require any special equipment in addition to a yoga mat, whereas Pilates use different exercise machines like the reformer, wunda chair, spine corrector, small barrel, tower, etc.


While Yoga is a meditative exercise, Pilates is not. Therefore, Yoga may be an effective exercise to fight against mental issues like depression or anxiety.


A major difference between Yoga and Pilates is that Yoga facilitates improving the flexibility of the body and the flexibility of your joints while Pilates focuses on relaxing and strengthening already tensed muscles in your body.

Weight Loss

Yoga and Pilates are both significant in strengthening all of the muscles in your body, but when it comes to weight loss, it is better to try Pilates exercises using various Pilates machines. When compared to Yoga, Pilates exercises would ensure your cardio fitness and will help you to shed excessive calories.


In brief, the main difference between Yoga and Pilates is that Yoga mainly facilitates the relaxation of your body and mind while Pilates focus on rendering you strong muscles and physical fitness. Many youngsters nowadays understand the value of both Yoga and Pilates, and there is an entirely new generation in society who is trying to incorporate both Yoga and Pilates into their busy lives.


1. “Health Benefits of Yoga.” International Association of Yoga Therapists.
2. Ogle, Marguerite. “10 Reasons You Should Start a Pilates Practice.” Verywell Fit.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Yoga, meditation, lifestyle, one person, full length, side view, indoors, stretching, relaxation exercise, women” (CC0) via Pxfuel
2. “Weights-pilates-girls-1948837” (CC0) via Pixabay

About the Author: Anuradha

Anuradha has a BA degree in English, French, and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Master's degree in Teaching English Literature in a Second Language Context. Her areas of interests include Arts and Literature, Language and Education, Nature and Animals, Cultures and Civilizations, Food, and Fashion.

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