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Yoga v. Pilates: Pros and Cons

What's the Difference?


Yoga has been practiced in India for more than 5,000 years and it has evolved into various forms: Ananada, Anusara, Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Integral, ISHTA, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Kali Ray TriYoga, Kripalu, Kundalini, Power, Restorative, Sivananda, Svaroopa, Viniyoga, Vinyasa, White Lotus, and Yin Yoga.

Pilates began in the mid-20th century and was created by an athlete named Joseph Pilates. Pilates was invented as a form of strengthening and rehabilitation.

Mind, Body, Spirit Connection

Yoga teaches that the mind, body and spirit are connected and enlightenment can be achieved through meditation.

Pilates teaches the mind body connection, but does not focus on spirituality.

Class Setting

Yoga classes are often flexible, but some have a strict plan. Some Yoga classes believe in chanting and meditating before and after class.

Pilates classes are typically structured.

The Core of the Matter, working it out.

Yoga allows the practitioner to gain flexibility and strength. During this practice you will work all the muscles in your body, and they will be used equally. Yoga focuses on balance and teaches you posture in order to achieve this. You breathe as you move, meaning that movements are matched to inhalations and exhalations. With Yoga you inhale through your nose and exhales through your nose.

Pilates will also allow you to gain flexibility and strength, and you have a total body work out that focuses on strengthening the core and spinal alignment. Once again, your breathing will correspond with your movements. With Pilates you will inhale through your mouth and exhale through pursed lips.

Yoga Pros and Cons


Body detoxification: through various twists and turns along with controlled breathing, you will begin a process of detoxifying your internal organs.

Stress and anxiety Reducer: through deep breathing, flowing movements, meditating music, and meditation you will feel your stress and anxiety melt away.

The workout: not only will you tone and lose weight, but you will build stamina and flexibility.

Building the mind body connection: you will build focus, inner and outer strength, and positive mental awareness through the workout and meditation.

Location, Location, Location: you do not need to visit fancy, high priced Yoga classes in order to enjoy the wonder that is Yoga. Thanks to modern technology and companies like Gaiam, you can now practice Yoga and meditation in the comfort of your home.


Location, Location, Location: if you choose to join a class it can be pricey, and the studio may not be as comfortable as one would hope.

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Time management: if you have a busy schedule, it might be difficult for you to find time to incorporate Yoga into your day.

Trying something new: if you choose to join a class you might feel uncomfortable since you are new, and even if you practice at home you might find that you are not as prepared as you would or should like to be.

Pilates Pros and Cons


Balance: Pilates is great for build and maintaining balance, dancers choose Pilates for this reason.

Flexibility: Pilates stretches muscles making you more flexible.

Strengthens: the entire body, with the primary focus being on the core.

Tone: Incredible toning.

Keeping your spine straight: Posture is improved, and actually adds to your height.

Mat workout: Pilates is very low impact.

Location, Location, Location: You do not have to attend a class, once again Gaiam is a great place to start.


Calories: Pilates will not help you burn calories as well as "normal" workouts.

Weight loss: Pilates can help you lose weight, but it takes time.

Pilates classes: can be expensive and crowded.

Scheduling: it can be difficult to incorporate a workout into your schedule.

Yoga or Pilates

Rolling Like a Ball

Rolling Like a Ball

What to Choose?

If you are looking to lose weight, tone, build flexibility, dexterity, etc. than Yoga and/or Pilates would be great for you.

If you are looking to build a mind body connection, both can do it but Yoga's primary focus is on this connection.

The good news is, you can choose both workouts especially if you decide to workout in the comfort of your home.

In the end, the decision is yours! If you choose to focus on building a body mind connection, Yoga will get you there. It is important to remember that you will not see these results overnight. It will take dedication and hard work but you can get there. If you are looking to tone and lose weight, your best bet would be Pilates. These exercises are mild but rigorous and you will feel every muscle in your body the next day. Once again, it will take time; these results will not be instant. Yoga and Pilates are not an exercise, they are a lifestyle and you will need to live the life in order to see full results.

If cost is a factor, keep in mind that you do not need to attend a high price, crowded classroom in order to practice. You can visit your local superstore, health food store, and shop online and find wonderful products that will get you started.

Don't Forget about YouTube!

Before you go and join a class or buy products that you might regret purchasing, remember that YouTube users post videos daily and you can try any form of Yoga and Pilates, as well as various teaching and method styles.

If you are looking to try Yoga and Pilates today, give these videos a try:

Gaiam Yoga for Weight loss (

Gaiam Pilates for Weight loss (

Seeing Yourself Through Yoga

When You Should Not do Yoga and/or Pilates

Do Not Practice Yoga When...

  • If you have osteoporosis you should not do any twists, bends or upside down poses.
  • Do not practice Yoga on a full stomach.
  • Do not practice Yoga if you are sick.
  • Do not practice Yoga if you are not able to concentrate.
  • Consult your physician if you are pregnant and wish to do Yoga.
  • Do not practice Yoga if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Do not practice Yoga while menstruating.
  • As with any other exercise regimen, consult a physician before beginning. There are many medical conditions that might keep you from fully enjoying Yoga.

Do not Practice Pilates When...

  • If you have osteoporosis you should consult a physician before beginning your practice.
  • If you are sick you should not practice until you are well.
  • Women who are menstruating should refrain from practice.
  • If you are pregnant you should consult your physician before starting your practice.
  • As with any other exercise regimen, consult a physician before beginning.

Benefits of Yoga and Pilates


Mind, Body, Spirit Connection

Mind Body Connection

Build Strength

Builds Flexibility


Control Through Breath


Core Work

Some Weight loss



Yoga and Pilates have much to offer with small variants. If you wish to strengthen and build a mind, body, spirit connection than Yoga may be the choice for you. If you wish to tone and build your body, than the choice is Pilates.

Both Yoga and Pilates have been practiced for many years, with Pilates being the youngest of the two. There are pros and cons to every form of exercise and in the end the choice is yours my friend. Namaste.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Michelle Battle


Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on January 19, 2016:

Hi Michele, I haven't tried it yet. It's a new class at my gym. Good for you. I haven't done any home practice for yoga and Pilates in a few months. But I might soon. Same here! You too!

Michelle on January 18, 2016:

Hi Kristen,

I haven't tried Piyo yet but I've heard great things about it! Right now I just do Yoga, Pilates and Cardio from my home. I can't wait for it to get warm so I can go out and walk/jog.

Have a great day,


Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on January 18, 2016:

I do both at my gym, which helped me out with my backpain for the past two years. I do pay for a full annual membership and the classes are free. Now there's a piyo class at my gym I might attend...

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