Yoga or Pilates, which one is for me?

Yoga and Pilates are usually popular options for people who want to improve mobility and sculpt muscles. While both of these are beneficial for the overall health and well being, there are some contrasting differences between the two that make each of them suitable for reaching different fitness goals and individuals with varying needs.

In this article, we provide you a brief but useful comparison of the two popular fitness routines to help you decide which one is a better choice for your precise physical needs and fitness goals.

Yoga vs. Pilates — Areas of Focus

Yoga has a more spiritual focus in contrast to Pilates that aims to improve physical strength, flexibility, and body tone. While Yoga may appear to be a combination of various stretching exercises, its practice is ingrained in Indian culture that focuses on the use of exercise and meditation to unite the mind, body spirit. On the other hand, the primary purpose of Pilates is to improve the physical strength and vitality of an individual by devising a conditioning program that is based on the six principles created by Joseph Pilates. These include:


  • Breath
  • Centering
  • Concentration
  • Control
  • Flow
  • Precision


Yoga vs. Pilates — Technique

Yoga and Pilates differ considerably when it comes to the exercises that are used to achieve the precise purpose of the technique. Some of these include:

  • When performing Yoga, an individual is required to assume and hold different poses while focusing on their breathing and emotions. On the contrary, Pilates involves the use of a number of physical exercises all of which emanate from the core and extend through the limbs.
  • The static poses assumed during Yoga improve the strength and flexibility of the spine unlike Pilates which focuses on building the core strength first and then overall flexibility of the body.

Yoga vs. Pilates — Applications

Since both Yoga and Pilates use different techniques to target different muscles, each of them is suitable for different applications. Here are a few examples:

  • Cardiovascular Health — For those who want to improve their cardiovascular health and functioning, Power Yoga can be a good option as it involves aerobic workout. Pilates, on the contrary, offers little benefit to beginners. However, advanced Pilates give the heart the same aerobic workout as that of speed walking.
  • Flexibility & stress management: Yoga is generally an accepted fitness routine to improve flexibility. It incorporates a lot of mindfulness and concentration which in combination with its focus on breathing makes it an ideal stress management tool.
  • Pre natal & post partum: Both yoga and pilates are beneficial during pregnancy and after giving birth. Pilates exercises target lower abdominal muscles as well as pelvic muscles. Pilates exercises also target postural muscles and back muscles in controlling pain. Yoga poses can manage blood flow and prevent edema in lower legs commonly associated with pregnancy. During pregnancy, whether you decided to engage in either fitness routines, it is important to consult with an instructor who is trained in safe position.
  • Weight Loss — Both Yoga & pilates are known for helping to achieve longer and leaner muscles. Neither of these exercise routines are designed for weight loss unless they are accompanied by interval training and exercises to raise the heart rate. The amount of calories burnt depends on the type and intensity of a workout. Here is general guideline to help you decide which one’s better suited for weight loss.
    • 50-Minute Hatha Yoga — 145 Calories
    • 50-Minute Power Yoga — 250 Calories
    • 50-Minute Beginner Pilates — 175 Calories
    • 50-Minute Advanced Pilates — 255 to 375 Calories

To learn more about Yoga or clinical Pilates or to book an appointment with our North York physiotherapist, please call at 416 444 4800.


Ask Questions

[[[["field101","contains","Physiomobility email account"]],[["show_fields","field106"]],"or"],[[["field101","contains","Hardware Problem (Don Mills)"]],[["show_fields","field110"]],"and"]]
NameEnter your name
Your Questionmore details
0 / 300



Physiomobility continues to remain open and is not part of the lockdown. We continue to have rigorous disinfection policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety of our community and are open for patient in-person visits with all of our practitioners.

Virtual appointments are available and encouraged for those who are at a heightened risk of illness.

We remain focused on our quality of care & our continued commitment to helping our patients feel their best. For further assistance, you can contact us at 416-444-4800 during our opening hours. 

The Physiomobility Team