BY: Lively Staff

February 22, 2018

Yoga vs. Pilates: Which is Better?

There are differences between these amazingly therapeutic workouts. Take a look at our yoga vs. Pilates checklist to see which is right for you.

yoga vs pilates

Yoga vs. Pilates. Since both yoga and Pilates often include a mat, fun fitness equipment and static muscle movements, they often get lumped into the same category. They may offer similar benefits but they’re also very different workouts.

If you’re not sure which is right for you here’s a yoga vs. Pilates checklist to help!

yoga vs pilates


  • Mindfulness and stress-relief: Yoga breath, or ujjayi pranayama, is diaphragmatic breathing that helps calm the nervous system. It allows you to stay focused on the present moment.
  • Mind-body connection: Yoga flow often includes one breath to one movement so that you recognize the connection between your actions and your mind.
  • Flexibility: Static holds help to stretch and open up the joints to increase flexibility.
  • Power down: Do yourself a favor and leave your cell phone out of the yoga studio! Yoga is there to help you power down and get back to yourself.
  • Whole-body strength and tone: Yoga strengthens certain muscle groups while at the same time stretching their opposing muscle groups. This creates a strong, lean physique.
  • Injury prevention: Regular gym goers, athletes and even gym newbies need to maintain controlled strength, flexibility and agility. When done correctly, yoga can help prevent acceleration of deterioration of the joints and muscle tissue from overuse.
  • Cardio: Yes, your heart rate often does increase while in yoga!
  • Balance training: A regular yoga practice can help improve balance and help you learn how to hold your weight properly for minimum wear, tear and discomfort.
  • Weight loss: Workout consistency and nutrition are key to weight loss. But also, yoga can help relieve the stress that often triggers added weight gain.



  • Imbalance correction: Pilates strengthens muscles that have atrophied and stretches muscle groups that have become overdeveloped.
  • Core-driven: Pilates focuses on your “Powerhouse,” which includes your abdominals, back and glutes.
  • Whole-body strength: Pilates revolves around the core but definitely doesn’t exclude the other muscle groups!
  • Increased muscle flexibility and joint range-of-motion (ROM): Yoga has this benefit as well, but Pilates offers additional movements you may not try in your typical yoga studio.
  • Better control within the joints: It’s important to stay flexible and strong within your ROM.
  • Maintains postural alignment: A good posture can help you look slimmer and feel more energetic.
  • Core-training for pre- and post-natal women: Pilates engages the deep core muscles that often weaken with child-bearing more efficiently than other core-training.
  • Weight loss: Pilates can also aid in weight loss efforts by increasing muscle tone, and therefore your metabolic rate.

Both Pilates and yoga offer harmonizing strength and flexibility in their own ways. Yoga does this in a more meditative, stress-relieving way, while Pilates does so in a more core-centered, technical way. So, who wins out in your yoga vs. Pilates debate?

Lisa Payne is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, and travel. She stems from a background in television, playwriting, and personal training. Always on the go, follow her on social media or check out her website at

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