So, you’re a Pilates Instructor right, uh what is that? Oh, that thing like Yoga right? As a Pilates instructor at times the climb is uphill, when trying not only to educate but book clients who don’t even know what in the world you do! In this article I’m going to share with you the major differences between Pilates and Yoga. It will then be up to you to decide where you stand (no pun intended).  Before I dive right in, I want you to know that while Pilates and Yoga are the “Gold” standard in the industry of meditation and fitness, there are many habits that you can incorporate in your daily routine that improves flexibility, meditation, and mindfulness. I will share in the coming weeks what is and how Mind Body Coaching can help you in your day-to-day life!

Now without further a due, what the heck is Pilates?! By now everyone knows (or at least think they know) what Yoga is, and I am sure you know at least three instructors and most of the Poses in the Asanas Library. You may even be a Yoga instructor yourself. This is how popular the art and practice of Yoga is and has become. As it should be Yoga was developed over 5,000 years ago, a lot longer than the practice of Pilates, but does that make it best…. for you at least? Grab a mat, aka Yoga mat for some, and let us break this down, shall we?


The Origins

  • Yoga was developed over 5,000 years ago in India with the purpose of connecting individual consciousness to a universal consciousness creating spiritual enlightenment. Poses or “asanas” combined with breath control and meditation improve the physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health of the practitioner.
  • Joseph Pilates began development of his regimen (historically called “Corrective Exercise” and then “Contrology”) approximately 100 years ago. The underlying theme of Pilates is a systematic and disciplined approach to physical movement through focus and clarity of the mind. Joseph Pilates created apparatuses which could support the body to correct dysfunction and improve movement.

The Equipment

  • Yoga utilizes mats and small props to aid or support the practitioner.
  • Pilates has an extensive array of small props and machines, or “apparatuses,”, such as the oh-so-popular Reformer, Cadillac, Springboard, Barrel, and Wunda Chair designed to assist the individual in improving alignment, strength, and coordination.

The Movements

  • In some Yoga classes, poses are typically held for extended time periods to release muscle tension. In some styles of yoga, a long series of poses is repeated sequentially, with the purpose of warming the body to allow for increased range of motion.
  • Pilates movements are often guided by the apparatus, which can be configured by the teacher to aid or resistance for the client. The focus in a Pilates session is often on a relatively short piece of choreography emphasizing control and precision. A movement is focused on and repeated for a few repetitions before moving onto the next exercise. In Pilates, there is constant attention on posture, alignment, and movement mechanics. The practitioner is encouraged to focus on each movement, staying present and intentional. The theme of controlling the body with the mind is ever-present.


  • Yoga teaches breathing in and out through the nose or a “warming breath.” This type of breathing is designed to relax the body and calm the mind. Focus in yoga is on “belly breathing.” The classes I take often use the breath as a mechanism to time each pose for example: “Hold this pose for another 4 breaths.”
  • Pilates teaches breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. This type of breath is considered “diaphragmatic” and is meant to energize and prepare the body for strong engagement. The practitioner is encouraged to “move with the tempo of the breath,” coordinating the two.


  • Yoga emphasizes the mind-body and spiritual connection, quieting the mind by focusing on mastery through introspection. Flexibility and strength are improved through repetition of the asanas.
  • Pilates follows a systematic approach, focusing on individual movements as they integrate with the whole. The intended outcome from Pilates is improved posture and creating a strong, balanced, and stable base from which to move.


There you have it. A clear winner…. YOU! While there are many benefits to Yoga and although I am a Pilates instructor, it is ultimately up to you and your lifestyle goals which, if not both, styles you choose from. Both offer incredible mental and fitness benefits and there is certainly no harm in experiencing both. If you’ve never tried Pilates, I strongly encouraged you to do so. Take the first step to learning how Pilates can improve your life, by signing up for my Free 7 Day Pilates Challenge below! Still wanna learn more?  Great! If you are an athlete, hop on over to where I share Top 5 Benefits of Pilates for Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts and the 8 Reasons Why every Woman Should Try Pilates.


In health,