If you’re looking for a disciplined exercise routine that’ll boost your well-being, both yoga and Pilates fit the bill. However, while both are fitness techniques that strengthen the body as well as the mind, there’s a world of difference between the two. Let’s learn more about them to see where the differences lie and pick out a routine that’d best suit your regimen.


Yoga originated in ancient India and is said to be as old as civilization itself! Though its exact origin is not known, it’s believed that the practice of yoga has existed for about 5,000 years. The 20th century saw a revival of the tradition and its spread to Western countries. Pilates has a more recent origin; it was founded in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates specifically for physical rehabilitation through strengthening the core.


Most key principles of both practices are similar. Breathing is at the core of both yoga and Pilates. In fact, yoga has its own separate branch called pranayama that deals with perfecting the technique of breathing. Breathing is also one of the six key principles of Pilates, and it’s used with other principles to achieve a sturdy body.

Yoga gives equal importance to exercise and relaxation. Yogic asanas are formed by taking a posture and holding it as you force your mind to concentrate. Pilates is a series of steps that eloquently form an exercise sequence akin to a dance presentation; ultimately it improves respiratory and circulatory functioning to promote good health.

The most fundamental difference between yoga and Pilates are in the ultimate goal of the follower. Apart from the health aspect, yoga has a spiritual aspect to it and concentrates on improving mind, body and soul health. Pilates, on the other hand, seeks to boost physical and mental well-being and assumes the soul will take care of itself if the body is in fine form.

Apart from the disciplined exercise regimen, yoga also advocates proper diet – both physical and mental. Eating right foods and thinking positive is important but under-recognized values of yoga. You may need to consider a diet change before taking up yoga as your preferred discipline.


While spiritual health or inner peace is an added benefit of a yogi, Pilates fans swear that it has made them more graceful and flexible. These are but bonuses from both routines. The main benefit you get, no matter which stream of exercise you follow, is, of course, excellent health, which is what you want to pursue all your other goals.