Pilates vs. Yoga: Which One is Better?

Which One is Better

Yoga and Pilates are two of the most popular physical activities in recent years. Yoga which originated in India some 5,000 years ago slowly developed into a phenomenon in Western countries, while Pilates designed by German anatomists in the early 20th century quickly gained a lot of popularity around the world.

Both forms of physical exercise focus on using bodyweight resistance. Both offer several health benefits, including helping to manage stress levels, increasing flexibility, strength, and improving overall fitness.

Most people think the two exercises are very similar, even though they’re not, so many people have a hard time choosing between the two. Pilates is a safer option for those who get injured easily or who are exploring the exercise for the first time.

History Pilates vs. Yoga

Reporting from the Times of India, Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s involving concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing. Pilates has gained immense popularity in the span of 100 years because of the various health benefits it offers.

This exercise is great for those looking to build core strength, improve posture, balance, and flexibility. There are various forms of pilates and the most common pilates mats. Mat Pilates is a combination of disciplines such as dance, yoga, gymnastics and is performed on a mat. Other standard Pilates workout systems use different equipment, such as reformers, Cadillacs, and barrels.

Meanwhile, yoga, which has existed since the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India more than 5,000 years ago, helps increase flexibility and connects the mind with the body. It is the integration of emotion, action, and intelligence.

Yoga is the perfect combination of exercise, breathing, and meditation. There are various types of yoga such as Vinyasa yoga, Hatha yoga, Iyengar yoga, Kundalini yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Bikram yoga, and others.

For that, before starting to try one of them, it’s good to know the difference between yoga and pilates which has been summarized from several sources as follows:


1. Tools

The tool that is commonly used when practicing Pilates is a mat. In addition, other supporting tools used are balls, and ropes with special tools used in several sessions. Each assistive device has a role in the function of increasing and improving body shape and posture.

2. Method

Using several tools is one of the methods used in Pilates. It aims to warm up the muscles so that they can maintain the balance of the body.

3. Breathing

Pilates mostly uses breathing through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. That way, Pilates is considered more relaxing than yoga.

4. Benefits

In terms of spiritual benefits, the benefits of Pilates rely on the mind and body. Then make them more relaxed when doing daily activities.


1. Tools

Yoga also uses mats, but will very rarely use balls, ropes, and other tools such as Pilates. This is because yoga focuses on relying on muscle strength, movement, and coordination of body weight.

2. Method

Yoga requires very minimal use of additional tools or machines such as Pilates. This is supported by a yoga focus accompanied by meditation as part of the method.

3. Breathing

Yoga also focuses on regulating the abdominal breath that is exhaled through the nose. But in yoga, there are ways and poses in inhaling and exhaling. This is because yoga only focuses on the energy in the body.

4. Benefits

Yoga provides spiritual benefits by focusing on inner calm through meditation. Yoga also connects the mind, body, and soul so that the spiritual focus obtained also has a wider scope.

Which one to choose?

So, which one should you choose? Pilates has the primary goal of toning the core muscles located deep in the stomach, while yoga increases overall flexibility and relaxes your mind.

Both forms of exercise are excellent in their own way. Which one is better for you depends entirely on your fitness goals and health condition.

Pilates involves smooth, low-impact movements. It is good for the elderly or someone who is recovering from any kind of injury. The benefits of Pilates help stabilize your muscles and relieve low back pain.

Meanwhile, yoga may seem more difficult because it tests your flexibility and mobility. However, it doesn’t matter if you want to push yourself. There are certain asanas that may be more difficult to perform, there are modified versions that are easier to follow.

However, there are some things that are common in Pilates and yoga. Both focus on breathing, alignment, balance, strength, and flexibility. Both are done barefoot and on a mat.

Pilates instructor and yoga enthusiast, Ruth Tongue says that The benefits of Pilates is a mainstay for physical recovery, especially back problems. But it is also good for the recovery of other conditions, such as urinary incontinence.

Pilates focuses on the core, whereas yoga tends on the whole body. He also suggested, before trying yoga, you should practice Pilates first. Only after that, practice yoga slowly and carefully, without having to force yourself as much as possible. So, it is not correct to say yoga is better than Pilates or vice versa. Ideally, include both exercises in your fitness routine.