Self & Health

Is Pilates similar to Yoga?

by Dorita Vardikou



“Are you a Yoga teacher?”

“No, I am a Pilates teacher.”

“Is Pilates similar to Yoga?”

“Not really, Pilates includes Yoga poses with a different approach in performance.”

“I am not flexible, I guess I will be crap in both!”

...And this is the most common conversation I have with people out there, who have no idea what Pilates is about and try to figure out what to expect from the workout. So, I felt the need to analyse the differences between Yoga and Pilates through facts and through my personal experiences.

I think it is time to introduce Pilates himself. The Pilates training was invented by Joseph Pilates who used to call his method “Contrology”. Joseph Pilates was a frail and sickly child who was determined to overcome his fragility. Instead of following an established fitness regime Joseph experimented with many different approaches and one can, in fact, recognise the different elements of these methods in his teaching. Yoga, gymnastics, skiing,self defence, dance, circus training and weight training all influenced him, and he chose aspects of each to develop his own body. So, yes you might see planks and down dogs while practicing Pilates but the way you perform the poses/exercises wont be the same you do it in Yoga. Despite, both methods focus on technique, breathing and alignment· each one achieves that in a different way.

The 5 basic differences between Yoga and Pilates:

The most obvious difference is that Yoga and Pilates use different equipment. You can see blocks, straps and blankets in a Yoga’s room. In a Pilates room you can find from tonic circles, small balls, weights to big machines like Reformer and Cadillac. These are machines that Pilates has designed himself.

Yoga was created as a path to spiritual enlightenment through a series of poses. Whereas, Pilates is an exercise routine originally developed to help injured athletes.

While performing Yoga you use more than one breathing pattern in order to release stress. In Pilates though, you use always the lateral breathing in order to train the diaphragm to send the adequate amount of oxygen to the muscles so they perform better.

I am sure you have seen people holding poses in Yoga. In Pilates you will never see holding poses/exercises. By moving the limbs while performing an exercise you ensure good blood flow which means efficient amount of oxygen in the muscles to perform the movement.

Both Yoga and Pilates aim to improve flexibility and strengthen the core. Yoga improves flexibility using hyperextension of the joints. Pilates achieves this working within the natural RoM of the joints and active stretching. Pilates is the best exercise method to those with hyper-mobility and musculoskeletal issues who need to provide stable environment to their joints.

I have no intention to discourage any Yoga lover at this point. I am only talking from my personal experience as a “non-normal” body. Always remember:”Both methods can be safe with the right teacher!”.

I wish you all a lovely summer!! Next month: “6 Pilates exercises will make you feel better and look better”.


Dorita Vardikou

Graduated in Finance and business administration finding the office life hard body-wise... As a person with a fused spine, scoliosis warrior, I had to change career from an accountant to a Pilates teacher. I did qualified in London from the Body Control Pilates school. You can find me now teaching private and group classes within a corporate environment, also teach matwork and reformer at my studio in Manor House

Website: http://www.pilateswithdorita.co.uk


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