Pilates vs. Yoga: Which is the best?

Yoga and Pilates are two among the most-preferred workout techniques followed by people today. While yoga is an ancient workout regimen originated in India, Pilates is a modern workout technique that spread to the world from the UK and the US. When it comes to fitness training, many get confused about what to choose between yoga and Pilates. Here, we provide detailed information about both yoga and Pilates that will guide you better in choosing the best work out for yourself.

Yoga is all about stretching while Pilates is all about building strength in your body. Both the workout techniques are used for the rejuvenation and relaxation of the mind and body. For primary muscle toning and muscle building, Pilates is the most recommended workout. Yoga can be practiced to keep you healthy, and to relieve from cardio-vascular issues and stress. For quick healing of injuries, yoga works the best.

Why are they preferred?

Despite some differences, yoga and Pilates overlap in various ways. Both yoga and Pilates yield long-term results. Both have their own benefits and offer results that are consistent and permanent. Both the workout methods are safe and have no side effects. Even if a person has to discontinue his/her yoga or Pilates classes due to an injury or for any other reason, the aftermaths will not be as evident as in case when you pause gym workout.

Most importantly both yoga and Pilates can be practiced at home after attending basic training programs from certified trainers. The follow-up sessions for both the workout methods are simple. One can get yoga or Pilates workout DVDs to update his/her workout strategy at home itself.

Despite all the above mentioned benefits and advantages if a person is still confused about choosing between yoga and Pilates, then here are a few useful insights.

Major Differences between Pilates and Yoga

1. Weight Loss

  • Yoga: Yoga is effective enough in weight loss only when you combine it with other workouts like jogging, running, swimming, etc. This is because yoga burns not more than 250 calories after working out for an hour in a day. This way, practicing yoga for about 4 days in a week will help in shedding just 1-2 pounds.
  • Pilates:Pilates is really effective when weight loss is your primary focus. Even a beginner can shed up to 350-400 calories after doing Pilates for an hour. Not only for losing fat-based weight but also for losing muscle weight and water weight, Pilates is strongly recommended workout method.

2. Strength and Muscle Toning

  • Yoga:When your aim is to increase strength, stamina and flexibility, yoga will offer you visible and static results. One has to follow yoga at least for eight weeks without a break, to increase the stamina by 25%. With increased stretching and practices like hot yoga, muscle toning is also possible.
  • Pilates:Pilates again overpowers yoga when it comes to muscle toning and strength building. Many studies have revealed that people who do Pilates for about one month can do more push-ups than those who are practicing yoga. Pilates work directly on your body muscles by reducing muscle weight and by increasing the strength. This way, more stamina and strength can be achieved with Pilates.

3. Injury Rehabilitation

  • Yoga:For all types of injury rehabilitation, yoga is the best. There are 26 yoga poses exclusively available for injury recovery. Specialized yoga methods are available to treat specific injuries. Since yoga heals injury faster as compared to Pilates, it is the best for athletes, sportsmen and even common people.
  • Pilates:Pilates workout session are little tedious and they cause increased muscle tension. They are not recommended for healing of injuries. However, many injury rehabilitation programs make use of Pilates but they are custom-crafted and carefully designed by professionals to match the age, strength and medical background of a person.

4. Flexibility

  • Yoga:If you want a flexible body, then nothing works best other than yoga. Hot yoga or Bikram yoga that are done under hot and humid conditions can increase blood flow in your body, balance the body temperature and also offers maximum flexibility to your body.
  • Pilates: Pilates can only strengthen your muscles but flexibility is based on your health, diet and weight.

5. Cardio Health

  • Yoga:Yoga improves cardio vascular health of your body when practiced regularly. It causes less stress to your heart and cardio muscles. Yoga like power yoga and Hatha yoga can be practiced regularly to keep your heart in the pink.
  • Pilates: This workout can also take care of your heart’s health but not as effective as yoga. However, it improves blood circulation and lung capacity.


If you only need to achieve body strength while keeping it fit and well toned, then Pilates workout is the best. For achieving body flexibility, muscle strength, inner peace and also to recover from injuries faster, yoga is suggested. One can combine both yoga and Pilates with other workouts, but this has to be done only under the supervision of a certified trainer. Yoga can also increase the lifespan of people who regularly follow it for more than 10 years and it does not require any alteration in the diet plan of a person. When it comes to costing and session fees, both yoga and Pilates are affordable.

Can they be combined?

A majority of fitness centers all over the world combine both yoga and Pilates. Fitness packages that include injury rehabilitation, stress busting, and weight management combine both yoga and Pilates. But is it right? Actually yes! Yoga is all about stretching and Pilates is about enhancing core strength. A workout combo of yoga and Pilates can do wonders and gives you a stress-free mind and stronger body. Both the workouts complement each other and enable one to attain high levels of physical, mental and spiritual fitness.

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