Yoga vs. Pilates: The Breakdown

Posted on July 1, 2014


By Michelle Quina

SunsetYogaPose_FOTOBeing an athlete (technically former athlete), I am somewhat work-out obsessed. I would much rather spend time in the gym than eat like a bird to stay fit. Although health and wellness is a priority of mine, there is another fitness population that I do not quite understand; the Yoga and Pilates enthusiasts. I decided to look into this work out sensation and I am here to report back to all of you who have been considering trying Yoga or Pilates.

Yoga: Yoga is used to unite the mind, body and spirit. This is done through meditation, stretching and building strength. Yoga uses stretches to increase flexibility and unite the body through the act of balance. Many classes focus on poses, breathing, and response chanting. Depending on where you go the class may be focused more on the physical aspects of yoga, or the spiritual ones.

Pilates: Pilates develops strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, and muscular endurance. Many of the moves involved in Pilates emphasize your body’s core (the abdomen, obliques, lower back, butt, etc.) Pilates focuses centering your body, controlling your movement, flow, breath, precise form and concentration.

While that all sounds very nice, if you are anything like me when you hear about yoga and pilates then you are thinking something like this:

I can’t even touch my toes..


What does centering my body mean?

Am I going to sweat?

People do handstands?

To overcome my uncertainties, I decided to look into the benefits of both yoga and Pilates for your health. Many people work out in order to keep their heart healthy, which is why you hear about the importance of getting your heart rate to rise when you are being active. Yoga and Pilates offer little cardio benefit. Both are similar to walking at a brisk pace. If you are looking to get your heart rate up this may not be the best work out routine for you, but it can be coupled with cardio. What Yoga and Pilates does do is increase your body strength and flexibility. Yoga will increase your overall flexibility immensely. Yoga also helps with stress and muscle pain. Pilates tends to be better at strengthening your core than crunches and helps improve your flexibility as well. It also helps improve your posture by strengthening your back muscles.

So for everyone who has been contemplating trying Yoga or Pilates I say give both a try. For me, I prefer Pilates (probably because holding my body in a pose that stretches muscles that won’t stretch is not a skill of mine) but Yoga will definitely make you feel great. I suggest coupling your Yoga and Pilates classes with cardio in order to keep your heart healthy or if you are attempting to lose weight. Now that I better understand the yoga and Pilates enthusiast, possibly Zumba and Pure Barre will be next on the agenda.


The Pilates Place- 474 Perkins Extd #207 Memphis, TN 38116
Pilates Centre- 1789 Kirby Pkwy Memphis, TN 38102
Pilates of Collierville – 386 N Byhalia Rd Collierville, TN 38017

Bikram Hot Yoga Memphis – 5101 Sanderlin Ave #125 Memphis, TN 38117
Midtown Yoga – 524 Cooper St Memphis, TN 38104
Better Bodies Yoga – 692 W Brookhaven Cir Memphis, TN 38117

Posted in: Health