Yoga Vs Pilates – Which Is Right For You?

yoga vs pilates

Summer’s nearly here!

Which means it’s time to get in shape again, and one of the best ways to do so is to take up Yoga or Pilates.

But which one is right for you?

To a beginner the two disciplines can seem almost identical, but there are several factors you should consider when deciding which is right for you – Yoga or Pilates.
If you’re looking to tighten your core, stand taller or just feel better, with consistent practise both disciplines can get the job done.  However, there are a few differences which may help you decide which is the right one to choose.
Here are 3 points to take into consideration when deciding whether Yoga or Pilates will work for you.

1. Spiritual Practise

Yoga is fundamentally a spiritual practise.  Many instructors will primarily teach students how to quiet their mind and enter a meditative state.  The movements involved in yoga, while often an intense workout, are designed as the physical extension of this state with the purpose of obtaining union between body, mind and spirit.

Pilates, however, is a physical exercise program structured to correct imbalances in the body.  Classes are often run hand in hand with physiotherapy, with the primary aim being to strengthen muscles and work towards pain-free movement.  Many sportspeople of various codes therefore find it a great cross-training tool.

2. Movement Patterns

While the movement patterns in Yoga focus on opening the body through the hips, spine and shoulders, Pilates concentrates more on deep core control, with minimal movement.  Many yoga movements will target lengthening the body through stretching the spine and hamstrings.  This also requires the student to build enough strength in order to hold positions for a particular length of time.  Pilates poses are often more focused on keeping the participants abdominal and oblique muscles contracted, whilst performing movements with other parts of the body.  This makes for a great core workout but may not provide the same amount of work to other areas of the body.

3. Injuries

Yoga classes include inverted and balance postures which can be quite difficult for beginners.  A good studio will run programs tailored for newcomers and work with you to be able to perform these more difficult poses.  However, if you have suffered from knee or back problems in the past, Pilates may at first be a better option, as many exercises are performed in a supine, prone or side-lying position.  Whichever you decide, if you do have any injuries make sure you inform the instructor so, if necessary, they can modify your workout.


If you’re still unsure which type of discipline is right for you, why not give them both a shot.  Many studios have cheap first month deals you can take advantage of whilst deciding which option you prefer.  After all the the choice between Yoga and Pilates ultimately comes down to personal preferences.

Which discipline do you prefer and why?  Let us know in the comments.

Author: Matthew Ende

I have lived in Mornington for 2 years and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle and scuba diving options here... especially during summer. For the other 9 months of the year I mostly hibernate and spend the rest of my time hunting down health secrets to share with this community.

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