What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?

Difference 1: Origin

Yoga originated in ancient India and is said to have a history of seven thousand years.

Pilates originated in Germany and was founded by Joseph Huberts Pilates during World War I in order to rehabilitate campers in concentration camps.

Difference 2: Concept

Yoga seeks balance and connection of body, mind, and spirit. Contrary to what most people think, yoga is not the practice of flexibility, but the coexistence of flexibility and strength, the balance of yin and yang, and complementing each other.

Pilates, based on the principle of central axis extension, focuses on exercising core muscle groups to improve core strength and stability. Similar to gym strength exercises, but more precise and precise.

Difference 3: practice method

Yoga practice includes meditation, breathing, asanas, chants, and other aspects. Among them, asanas are mainly statically practiced, and action is held for several seconds to several minutes. Through the coordination and series connection of different asanas, supplemented by the adjustment of consciousness and breathing, the body and mind can be unified, balanced, connected and developed together.

Pilates is mainly based on small-intensity, repetitive strength exercises, a simple action, through repeated repetitions to achieve the purpose of accumulating effects and strengthening strength. There are mat exercises and equipment exercises.

Difference 4: effect

Yoga takes a long time to get started, and the initial effect is not significant. It takes long-term persistence to get better results. However, from a long-term perspective, yoga has room for continuous improvement. From the initial physical strengthening to inner purity, to spiritual growth, it will develop by leaps and bounds.

Pilates has a short entry time and quick effect, especially for some post-injury recovery, fatigue injury, and lack of core strength, which has an immediate effect. But in the long run, since Pilates is only effective in improving core strength and does not involve deeper levels when core strength is already strong, there will be no further progress.


1. The movements are similar in appearance.

2. Breathing is similar

(ps. Let’s add it here: Pilates is a horizontal breathing method, which relies on the expansion of the chest on both sides to inhale, and most of the movements are nose breathing and mouth breathing; yoga has many kinds of breathing methods, among which chest breathing and general breathing Lifts are similar, but inhale and exhale.)

3. The teaching staff overlap. Many yoga teachers are also teaching Pilates, and many professional Pilates teachers are also yoga teachers. So there are a lot of people teaching yoga and Pilates together.

Yoga and Pilates comparison chart:

yoga equipment

Pilates equipment

yoga on mat

mat pilates

If you really can’t figure it out, then I’ll tell you the easiest way to tell the difference: Yoga must be practiced barefoot, and Pilates can be practiced with shoes.

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