Pilates vs. Yoga: Which is Right for You?

Pilates vs. Yoga: Which is Right for You?

Choosing between Pilates and Yoga depends on your individual goals and preferences. Both offer excellent benefits, but they approach fitness in different ways. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide — and if you need your questions answered, we are here to help you decide which might be an excellent choice for your unique health and fitness goals. 

Pilates and yoga are two types of exercise that can benefit almost everyone. Although many people consider them similar, they have important differences. But either one can be a positive force for your health.

Both Pilates and yoga are low-impact exercises, but there is one important difference. When practicing yoga, you typically adopt a position and hold it, or flow into a different position. In Pilates, you adopt a position and then challenge your core by moving your arms or legs. Both approaches increase strength and flexibility.

The story of Pilates begins with a sickly child named Joseph Pilates who was born in Germany in 1883. He wanted to improve his health by studying yoga, martial arts, and other disciplines involving the mind and body. He became more interested in body movement during the first World War when he worked with injured soldiers. After the war, he brought his style of exercise to New York City, where dancers, actors, and athletes embraced it.‌

Pilates moves require stabilizing your core before going through a series of range-of-motion exercises. Although some Pilates studios use specially designed machines, you can also do Pilates on a mat without special equipment.

Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice rooted in India. As a fitness strategy, it blends physical poses (asanas) with breathing techniques(pranayama). Because it has some elements of mindfulness, yoga is sometimes called meditative movement. It is popular in the United States. A 2017 survey showed that one in seven adults had practiced it during the preceding year. About 94% of those who do yoga say they do it to improve their overall wellness.

There are many types of yoga. Hatha yoga, a common type, is slow-paced and suited for beginners. Other types can be faster-paced or feature more demanding poses. Instructors often modify poses to suit the needs of their students.

It can:

  • Increase core strength to improve stability
  •  Improve posture
  •  Increase flexibility
  •  Ease lower back pain

Also, some studies have shown that Pilates may help with weight control.

Pilates is also a valuable tool for physical rehabilitation. In one review of 23 studies, 17 studies found that Pilates reduced pain and disability in individuals with a variety of conditions, including back pain, neck pain, scoliosis, and multiple sclerosis.Pilates is not an aerobic exercise. But it can reduce stress, which does benefit the heart.In most cases, Pilates is safe for pregnant women, seniors, and children. Beginners should learn with the help of a certified Pilates instructor. ‌

It can:

  • Ease low-back pain and neck pain
  • Improve balance
  • Enhance sleep
  • Eases stress and stress-related illnesses, such as tension headaches
  • Ease the pain of knee osteoarthritis
  • Help with weight loss
  • Ease some symptoms of menopause

Almost everyone can do yoga, but consult your doctor first if you have certain health conditions, including:

  • Problems with spinal disks
  • Osteoporosis
  • Risk of blood clots
  • Eye problems, including glaucoma
  • Balance problems
  • High blood pressure

If you have one of these conditions, some yoga poses may not be suitable for you, but you can benefit from others. Women can practice yoga during pregnancy with the approval of their doctor, but you may need to modify the poses.

Yoga causes fewer injuries than high-impact exercise. Still, it can cause sprains and strains, especially in the knee and lower leg. In addition, some individuals have sustained compression fractures of the spine after practicing yoga.Advanced positions, such as headstands and lotus and advanced techniques, such as forceful breathing, are more likely to cause injuries.Those with glaucoma, which causes high pressure in the eye, should avoid head-down poses.

If you decide to start practicing yoga, learn from a certified instructor to ensure your health and safety.

It is difficult to say whether Pilates or yoga is better suited for you. If you want to increase your strength and flexibility, Pilates might be the better choice. If you want to improve your overall wellness, you might choose yoga. Still, much depends upon the particular classes available to you and the skills and qualifications of the instructors.

Yoga is appropriate for men, but some men feel that they are not flexible enough for it. Certain poses have different effects on men and women, but both men and women can benefit from practicing yoga.

Pilates may have a similar problem attracting males, but it’s helpful to remember that a man invented Pilates and that Joseph Pilates developed many of its principles while working with male soldiers.

Ultimately, the best way to decide can be to try both! ABC Fit Studio offers introductory classes for both Pilates and Yoga. This allows you to experience each practice firsthand and see which one resonates more with you. Call us today at (949) 305-3310 and visit our Instagram @abc_fitstudio for inspiration and community.

Reference: [https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/difference-between-pilates-and-yoga]



I joined ABC looking for a yoga studio but found pilates was more of my speed. This is not just a place to exercise but an environment where friends come together to get fit, healthy, and happy.
I love the instructors who take good care of everyone. I always get the best encouragement possible! I also like the small class sizes for anything from yoga and pilates to Zumba and TRX.
Thanks, ABC Fitness Studio, for making being healthy fun!
— Candice D.
When my wife convinced me to try ABC Fitness, little did I know it would become an almost daily fixture in my life.
I enjoy multiple classes weekly and each is very special in approach to strength, balance, core, flexibility, and overall fitness. Feeling better and stronger physically leads to more enjoyment in all activities.
I feel stronger and fitter and look forward to continuing to rely on ABC Fitness as an integral part of my life.
— John T.
I’ve been doing pilates for almost 3 years now, and I feel stronger and have improved functionally in my daily activities
I was recommended by my physical therapist when I was a patient with many joint problems. My PT thought Pilates would help me, and it did!
I feel stronger, and have a better tone, range of motion, and a stronger core. I can get up from a low sofa with less effort now as my core plus legs are stronger; I owe all these improvements to Pilates. My teacher is patient and kind, always helpful — thank you!
— Surinder B.
ABC has a great variety of group classes, which allows me to take multiple classes and challenge my body in different ways. It keeps the workouts fun and interesting. It helps me reduce stress and keeps me strong!
— Natalie M.
I certainly enjoyed the Pilates session with Charlotte — it provides some pain relief, increased flexibility, and makes me want to be more active.
— Joni
I have been with ABC for about 7 years, and its biggest benefit has to be no more lower back pain and much more flexibility. Love it here!
— Mike P.
I love ABC Fitness!!! Over the years, I’ve worked out at many places, but this is the first one I absolutely love — so much so that I usually come 7 days a week! What is so special are the small classes that mean lots of individual attention, the extraordinarily knowledgeable instructors, and the nice variety of classes. It has been a huge benefit to my well-being.
— Linda T.
My balance has definitely improved, and I feel stronger. The ABC classes are wonderful! Zumba has always been a joy. Great to dance, dance, dance!
— Brenda
ABC has helped me heal from knee surgery. The classes and teachers are amazing! It is a very welcoming and friendly studio.
— Helene C.



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