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Pilates vs Yoga: It’s Time To Finally Tell The Difference

Pilates and yoga are two different disciplines which for some reason, people use interchangeably.

Pilates and yoga are two different disciplines which for some reason, people use interchangeably.

That reason could very well be because they share similar traits: they both involve mats, stretching, poses and they come in the form of a class. You can obviously perform them alone at the comfort of your own house but the instructor-classroom format is the way they have become famous and apparently synonymous.

Today, we’ll finally give you everything you need to know about both workout regiments but most importantly, we’ll help you tell the difference between the two.


Pilates was a product of World War I. The brainchild of Joseph Pilates, pilates was not associated or destined to wellbeing, sports or a healthy lifestyle. The discipline was originally used as rehabilitation for wounded soldiers.

When the war was finally over and Pilates came over to the United States, he spent considerable time working on his craft, evolving it into something everyday people could use to their benefit.

The commercialisation of pilates came in waves with hoards of people populating classes all over the world, swearing by its extremely beneficial results. Just to give you an idea of the popularity of pilates, in 2018 alone, the number of participants in pilates training amounted to approximately 9.08 million.

Before we list those benefits, let’s clearly identify what pilates actually is.

What Is Pilates? The Mat & The Reformer

Pilates is a full-body exercise method that mainly engages the core. It comes in two versions: version number one includes a mat and version number two includes a reformer – a very specific contraption made of a sliding platform with stationary foot bar, springs, and handles that create resistance levels.

Whether you’re using a mat or a reformer, pilates puts your body through a series of small movements that deploy your stabilizing back muscles and your core. Pilates exercise doesn’t involve high intensity, a furious pace or reps.

woman doing pilates on reformer
Young woman exercising on pilates reformer bed

The principle behind the practice is one of patience, steady movement and ensuring that the right muscles are engaged with each exercise.

Now that we have an idea of what pilates really is, let’s look at some of its key benefits:

  • Improves muscle strength and endurance
  • Enhances flexibility and refines posture
  • Decreases joint pain
  • Boosts core strength and develops stability

It comes as no surprise that pilates is beneficial for those with the following conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Respiratory conditions


The origins of Yoga date back to almost 5,000 years ago. It is a discipline that finds its roots in Northern India and it was a ritual that aimed to create a connection between mind and body, achieve self-awareness and discipline.

Today, yoga is one of the most, if not the most, popular fitness class in the world. In the U.S alone, it’s predicted there will be 55 million yoga participants. The reason behind the popularity of yoga rests on the multitude of benefits provided by the discipline.

Once again, before we identify the positive outcomes associated to yoga, let’s dive into the specifics of what yoga really is.

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is a progression through a series of movements and poses that leverage a person’s body-weight and the ground to give a person a full workout. By holding certain positions, yoga employs breathing, core muscles strength and flexibility to achieve its end-result.

Yoga is considered an amalgamation of movement, breathing and meditation that relaxes the mind, strengthens the body and bolsters the spirit. Yoga practitioners use a mat and incorporate long pauses in-between and throughout poses to regulate and work on their breathing.

Now that we know what yoga is and how it’s performed, let’s look at some of its most prominent benefits:

  • Improves flexibility, muscle strength and tone
  • Elevates energy and vitality
  • Helps the creation of a balanced metabolism
  • Assists weight reduction
  • Promotes cardiovascular health
  • Boosts athletic performance
  • Prevents and protects the body against injury

Club Health might be renowned for its physiotherapy tips and services but make no mistake about it, yoga is available.

At Club Health, we offer one-on-one yoga sessions that ensure you get the most out of your workout. Our qualified instructors will give you tips, advice and guidance on how to build your core, mobilize your joint and get full range of motion in your limbs.

Pilates vs Yoga: How Are They Different?

Now that we have gathered all the necessary information for pilates and yoga, let’s finally answer the question: how are they different?

While they both help with alignment, balance, and strength, pilates is generally more fast-paced than yoga, with a focus on body control and core engagement.

Yoga on the other hand, has strong elements of mindfulness, long pauses and meditation that’s why it is most of the time accompanied by slow, meditative and relaxing music. Yoga is a workout and a spiritual endeavour, helping people distress and recenter themselves.

Which Workout Is Better For Me?

It all comes down to what you’re looking for.

Pilates is great for people looking for a low-impact, structured workout that will improve, posture, core strength, help with injury prevention and reduce lower back pain.

Yoga is ideal for people that seek relaxation, meditation, and an improved mind-to-body connection.

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