Pilates vs. Yoga: Understanding the Difference and Benefits

I share a comparison between pilates and yoga, and which one I like better 😉

Hello friends! Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I hope you had a great time! We officially have spring fever over there. I want to replant the garden – I let everything outside die while I dealt with the big eye saga – and clean everything, while the kids are already begging to jump in the pool in their pajamas.

I’m enjoying this short-lived sweet weather before it’s a thousand degrees by walking and hiking as much as possible!

For today’s post, I wanted to talk a little bit about Pilates and yoga, and the differences between these two popular low-impact exercise options.

In the world of mind-body fitness, Pilates and yoga are two prominent practices, each offering a unique approach to physical and mental well-being. Although they share some similarities, such as emphasizing breath control and the mind-body connection, there are clear differences between them. There are nuances to Pilates and yoga that make them super special, and I wanted to discuss the muscle engagement, styles, benefits, and considerations for incorporating them into your fitness routine. As always, talk to your doctor before making any changes to your fitness or diet!

Pilates vs. Yoga: Understanding the Difference and Benefits

Target muscle groups:

Both Pilates and yoga engage different muscle groups, but with different emphases. Pilates primarily targets the core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques and lower back, while also engaging the muscles of the entire body to improve strength, flexibility and stability.

On the other hand, yoga involves a wider range of muscle groups, including the core, arms, legs and back, with different poses targeting specific areas depending on the style practiced. I feel both are great full body exercises, but pilates definitely involves more core work.

The jumpsuit has arrived!

Pilates and Yoga Styles:

Pilates comes in several forms, the most common being mat-based Pilates and equipment-based Pilates using apparatus such as the reformer, cadillac, and chair. Mat Pilates focuses on bodyweight exercises performed on the mat, while equipment-based Pilates incorporates resistance provided by springs and pulleys to enhance the workout. In contrast, yoga encompasses different styles, such as Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram and Yin, each with its own focus on movement, breath and meditation.

Pros and Cons:

Pilates offers an effective, low-impact workout to build core strength, improve posture, and increase overall body awareness. Its focus on controlled movement and alignment makes it suitable for individuals recovering from injury or seeking rehabilitation. However, Pilates may lack the spiritual and meditative aspects found in certain yoga practices.

Yoga, on the other hand, not only improves physical strength, flexibility and balance, but also promotes mental clarity, stress reduction and emotional well-being through its meditative components. With numerous styles available, individuals can choose a practice that suits their preferences and goals. However, some styles of yoga may require more physical effort and flexibility than others, potentially challenging beginners. I believe there is yoga for everyone; you just need to find the type that suits you!

Incorporating into your routine:

Both Pilates and yoga can be incorporated into your fitness regimen based on your preferences, goals, and schedule. Beginners can start with one to two sessions per week and gradually increase the frequency as they become more comfortable and experienced. Those looking for a balanced approach to fitness can alternate between Pilates and yoga sessions throughout the week to reap the benefits of both practices.

Online practice options:

In today’s digital age, access to Pilates and yoga classes has never been easier. Numerous online platforms offer a variety of classes that cater to different skill levels, interests and time constraints. From live sessions to pre-recorded tutorials, individuals can choose the format that best suits their needs and preferences, allowing for practical and flexible practice from the comfort of home.

Here are some of my favorite online yoga and pilates options:


Bad Yogi

Yoga with Adrien

lululemon’s YouTube channel


Jessica Valant Pilates

Nicole Pearce

For some of my favorite exercises that you can try for free, check out this post.

If you’re looking for a balanced strength workout that you can implement with your favorite group classes, try Fit Team here.

In the Pilates vs. yoga debate, there is no single answer. Both practices offer unique benefits for physical and mental well-being, serving individuals with different preferences and goals. Whether you’re looking to build core strength, improve flexibility, or cultivate inner peace, Pilates and yoga provide valuable tools to improve your overall health and vitality.

By understanding the differences and benefits of each practice, you can make informed decisions to create a well-rounded fitness routine that fits your lifestyle and goals.

My favorite: I love them both!!! I used to prefer yoga, but after incorporating reformer classes into my life, I can’t choose. Both are so different, and I love incorporating both options into my monthly routine.

Tell me friends, are you team yoga or team pilates? Or both??



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