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Yoga Vs. Pilates: Know The Similarities And Differences

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Yoga and Pilates are two forms of exercise widely used in connecting the body with the mind. In general, both exercises improve health by enhancing oxygenation and blood flow.

Despite being strongly related as body-to-mind forms of exercise, Yoga and Pilates still have differences. Speaking broadly, this means there are some exercises that apply only to Yoga while Pilates also incorporate exercises that aren’t found in Yoga.


For instance, Pilates requires a performer to slightly quicken his pace of movement while Yoga requires its performers to hold every pose for a longer period.

This article centers on the major similarities and differences between Yoga and Pilates. If you’re interested in comparing the two forms of exercise, this article will likely serve you well.

Major Similarities between Yoga and Pilates

In both Yoga and Pilates, practitioners pay attention to the movement and the present moment instead of the end result.

As exercises, both Yoga and Pilates are aimed at connecting the mind with the body. Their perception as mind-to-body exercises enables them to inculcate awareness in practitioners.

Both Yoga and Pilates are intended to enhance oxygenation and blood circulation in the body.

While both Yoga and Pilates are basically performed with mats, they often tend to require more than sticky mats for the benefit of practitioners. In Pilates, some mat-based workouts involve props that either promote form or increase resistance.

These props include resistance bands, inflated balls, magic circles, etc., and they help improve a practitioner’s level of performance. In Yoga, practitioners utilize props, including straps, cushions and blocks, in order to improve form and comfort.

In each of Yoga and Pilates, a performer uses his/her body weight for natural resistance while controlling and toning the muscles. The only slight difference in this regard is that Pilates usually inculcates the use of ”apparatus” (alternatively specified machines) during workouts.

Performers of both Pilates and Yoga are stimulated to focus on movement instead of the exercise outcome which often ranges from having a peaceful mind to a fitter and well-conditioned body. If you love Pilates, having a pirates reformer is a great way to start.

Major Differences between Yoga and Pilates

Pilates and Yoga are not similar in breathing patterns.

During some Pilates workouts, performers use a quick staccato-like breath but for the most part, they use a steady, restrained diaphragmatic breath.

In the second place, Yoga practitioners use either kapalabhati (a swift breathing pattern stimulating more internal heat) or ujjayi which comes as a smooth breathing pattern, stimulating heat and imitating the sound of the ocean. Notably, ujjayi is used for the best part of the asana practice in Yoga.

Precise movement is the first thing Pilates performers do before trying to resonate their breath with that movement. However in Yoga, performers’ major focus, besides aligning properly in their poses, is to align with their breath.

In practice, the major aim of Pilates is to build abdominal strength before symmetrical musculature and flexibility of the entire body. On the other hand, Yoga is geared mostly towards boosting flexibility and strength of the limbs and the spine.

Yoga exercises firstly focus on the breath before attention is shifted to the strengthening of poses. However in Pilates, performers begin each movement from the ”core” (or the centre) before it is lengthened through the limbs.

Majority of Yoga poses are performed while standing but most Pilates workouts are done with horizontal postures such as side-lying, lying supine on the back or prone on the stomach.

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