What is the Difference Between Yoga and Pilates?


Yoga vs Pilates

Never has yoga or Pilates been more popular than it is now with the likes of celebrities, fitness-devotees and the everyday gym-goers reaping the rewards. But, just what are the differences between the two and, most importantly, which class is better for you?


Steeped in over 5000 years of history, yoga has long been touted as the go-to for reconnecting with your mind and body. While yoga and Pilates are equally as important for toning and strengthening, yoga has a greater focus on breathing for relaxation and brings a mind, body and spirit connection to each invigorating session.

Walking into your first yoga class doesn’t have to be intimidating. While the instructor mentioning a ‘Downward Dog’ or ‘Child’s Pose’ might throw you off at first, you will soon pick up the yogi-language and it won’t be long until you are the master every move with confidence. Plus, with everyone in their Zen zone, you can take comfort in knowing that there is no judgement if you aren’t as flexible as the person next to you.

Introducing a little mat work into your routine will also have lasting benefits on your physical health too. From improved flexibility through to increasing strength, you will leave each class knowing those muscles are stretched, the core is strong and you are aiding the recovery of any injury or soreness.

With benefits ranging from calm and spiritual through to physically challenging and sweaty, there’s a yoga class to suit to your health and fitness goals. Wanting to exercise for more than just the physical? Well, studies have shown that yoga has plenty of holistic health benefits from reducing stress through to boosting immunity and warding off illnesses.

Reasons to try yoga:

  • Flex your mental muscle: Each pose encourages the free flow of energy through the body, which ultimately helps to stabilise your mental and physical wellbeing.

  • Limber up and lengthen: Greater flexibility and improved posture as each session works on straightening and realigning your body. Plus, the lengthening of muscles and building of functional strength can boost athletic performance, with more men choosing the mat over weights (every heard of ‘Broga’!?). 

  • Stretch out of your comfort zone: Yoga doesn’t have to be serious and you don’t have to be a devoted yogi to enjoy it. It really is a class for everyone and a judgement-free zone whether you’re stiff as a board or as bendy as a pretzel. 


While yoga has been practiced for centuries, Pilates first hit the scene in the 1920s. Developed by Joseph Pilates as a form of rehabilitation for soldiers returning from war, it soon became a popular choice for dancers worldwide to strengthen and tone. Fast forward 100 years and you’ve now got one of the most popular forms of exercise amongst women and men alike!

Remaining true to its origins, Pilates still remains a popular choice for injury rehabilitation. As a low-impact form of exercise, experts believe that Pilates can be extremely useful to help restore overworked muscle groups and aid in the prevention of further injury (a win-win for sports trainers and physios worldwide!).

While yoga focuses on broader muscle groups, Pilates builds strength and tones specific problem areas with an emphasis on the core, encompassing your entire torso such as hips, shoulders, abs and back.

Worried about not being flexible? That’s more of a reason to try Pilates! The slow and controlled movements allow for minimal impact while elongating your muscles for greater flexibility. Plus, if you find comfort in machines, Pilates Reformer might just be the class for you to add a cardio element to your workout.

Reasons to try Pilates:

  • Accelerate your results: Pilates is often seen as the perfect complement to the training routines of elite athletes, from cyclists through to football players, to increase speed and endurance and build core stability for better performance.

  • Get low, get low, get low: It’s a low-intensity workout which is easier on the joints and aching muscles. It’s described as gentle while challenging – so it suits everyone from young men and women through to the elderly or those with chronic illness or pain.

  • Abs (guns and buns) of steel: Focuses on building core strength and increasing joint mobility to aid in the prevention or rehabilitation of injuries. Pilates also assists in the ongoing conditioning of muscles so they can often feel less fatigued and overworked after a strenuous workout or activity.

So, the million-dollar question, which class is for you? Well, the best news is, you don’t have to choose between the two! Yoga and Pilates can both have an overall positive impact on your physical and mental wellbeing, while building, strengthening and toning your body. Whether you are ready to embrace the ‘Mountain Pose’ in yoga, improve your core with Pilates, mix it up with Body Balance, or even try a combo of both with Piloga, you can find a class and style to suit with Goodlife’s range of MIND BODY classes on offer.

Goodlife Team Posted by: Goodlife Team
TAGS: Motivation

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