There are many similarities and just as many differences



Both techniques are known for stretching. We know from research that stretching improves flexibility, and in certain athletic events, even performance. It’s one of three kinds of exercise – along with strength training and cardio – that science has found to be absolutely essential for our health. However the type of stretching in each differs.

Yoga features static stretching which is holding a position for a certain period of time. Pilates does it very differently by slow and controlled movement – stretching while you move – known as dynamic stretching. As for which method is better, several studies show that dynamic stretching boosts the ability of the muscle to recover, reduces the risk of injury, and creates more stretch in less time and with less discomfort.



  • The body requires three types of exercise – stretching, strength training and cardio. Few fitness techniques combine all these in one workout. Pilates is one of them. A few athletic forms of yoga give you two – stretching and strength training – such as example Ashtanga yoga. Pilates includes stretching and strength training in every exercise and at every level, beginner to advanced. Further, at the advanced level of mat exercise repertoire, Pilates also gives you a cardio workout. Thus Pilates is a complete exercise method whereas yoga is primarily stretching.



Both Pilates and Yoga connect the body and mind. Few other forms of exercise do this. Concentration and Awareness while moving is a hallmark of both methods. Speaking from experience, most yoga classes additionally include a spiritual dimension in the form of Meditation, Chanting or Devotion to a Teacher. Pilates, does not.



Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. Though he studied eastern forms of exercise including yoga there is no evidence  that he tried to integrate it into his method. But, anyone who has tried both methods, including myself, can see influences such as the emphasis on breathing and alignment. Joseph Pilates first developed his exercises which he referred to as “Contrology” nearly a 100 years

ago. They remained in obscurity until he introduced them to the New York dance world in the 60’s. Contrast this with yoga which goes back millennia. Earliest evidence appears as images of yoga poses dating back 4500 years ago, and experts agree that the practice of yoga is most definitely much older!



Improved balance and posture are major outcomes of both methods. This is achieved by stretching and strengthening the entire body using primarily one’s own body rather than equipment or props – a strong feature of both methods.



Yoga is definitely more effective at integrating a spiritual dimension. Because, yoga is primarily stretching. I would also say that it’s more effective for stretch relief. This last statement is based upon my own personal experiences, since research does indicate that “any” exercise is effective for stress relief.

If you want more of a complete exercise including strength training and cardio as well as stretching. Pilates is the way to go.

Both top of the list of the most beneficial exercise methods I have ever experienced. My advice is to learn both so that each is a part of your “toolbag”. This is better than one OR the other because research shows that the greatest obstacle to regular exercise is Boredom! And I get bored very easily and constantly need to modify my Pilates Repertoire and I ensure that my clients never get bored.. I hope!  We all need a variety of exercises so that when one becomes boring – as we all do – we can flow  into another without breaking our precious habit of daily exercise.

Remember Pilates and/or Yoga is a personal preference....