Is Pilates Better Than Yoga?

Is Pilates Better Than Yoga?

Pilates and yoga are two types of exercise that offer many benefits. You may be wondering how they are different, or which one is better than the other. To find out whether you should do Pilates or yoga, let’s first understand each one:


Pilates is a series of low-impact exercises in which you adopt a position and then challenge your core in the process. Joseph Pilates was a sickly child and as he grew up he wanted to improve his health. In Germany he learned martial arts, studied yoga and involved himself in disciplines that are aimed to enhance the mind and body. During World War I, he developed Pilates primarily to rehabilitate wounded soldiers. When the war ended, he traveled to New York where he introduced Pilates to athletes, actors and dancers.

Pilates movements need core stabilization before you can perform a series of motion exercises. It is focused on small movements and puts strong emphasis on starting each one with controlled breathing. To do the exercises you’ll need a mat, and if possible, specialized equipment that uses levers, springs and body weight.

Pilates has been found to:

  • Increase muscle endurance and strength
  • Enhance posture and flexibility
  • Improve balance
  • Reduce joint pain

It’s considered very effective for physical rehabilitation. Studies have found that Pilates can reduce disability and pain in individuals who suffer from chronic conditions, like neck pain, back pain and scoliosis.

Pilates is generally safe for seniors, children and pregnant women. However it is imperative that beginners should be supervised by a certified Pilates instructor.


Yoga has been around for at least 3,000 years and this practice is believed to have originated in India. Deep breathing and mindfulness are essential features in a yoga practice. It can be perceived as an exercise that will lead to mind-body fitness.

There are many types of yoga. Some are slow paced and best suited for beginners, like the Hatha Yoga. Others can be fast paced and more challenging.

Yoga is centered on:

  • Breathing
  • Proper relaxation
  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Meditation and positive thinking

Yoga has been found to:

  • Improve balance
  • Ease pain in the neck, lower back, hip and knee
  • Reduce stress
  • Enhance sleep
  • Aid in weight loss

Just like Pilates, yoga is generally safe for everyone. However, if you have injury, are pregnant or suffer from certain health conditions, you should consult your doctor first before engaging in any workout. Learning from a certified yoga instructor is also important for beginners.

Should You Do Pilates or Yoga?

Pilates and yoga are both great workouts. Pilates can be great for those recovering from injury or for older adults who want to improve or maintain their range of movement. Mat Pilates is great for a lot of people but may be difficult for those with poor core strength or decreased mobility. Pilates workouts that use equipment are pretty much similar to mat Pilates but with added resistance.

Yoga is great too but may require greater flexibility and mobility. You can modify the poses but those with pain or severe limitations will still find it challenging to progress to advanced level. If you want to practice yoga, we recommend you enroll in a class handled by a certified yoga instructor at YogaWorks.

If you’re stressed, you might want to check out this yoga for stress relief tutorial:

Category: Featured