Yoga vs. Pilates – Which One Tones & Tightens Better? [2018 Update]

is yoga or pillates better

When you compare yoga to pilates, it’s not really a matter of which one is better. Essentially, you are comparing apples with pears, because they have very distinct differences. So, when it boils down to yoga vs pilates, it becomes a question of which is better for your situation.

To help you get some perspective and to guide you towards making the most comfortable choice, here is a look at the respective differences between them.

1. Yoga Has Been Around Longer

If you start at the very beginning, you’ll notice that yoga has been around for about 5000 years, and it originated from India. In terms of established techniques for a healthy body and mind, yoga has definitely proven itself to the world.

Pilates is the youngster among the two, and it came about during the mid twentieth century. An athlete by the name of Joseph Pilates came up with it as a way to help him rehabilitate while strengthening the body. Dancers would later incorporate it, and eventually, it became the popular activity we know today.

2. Yoga is More Spiritual

Make no mistake, both yoga and Pilates require a good understanding of how the body and mind are connected. But with yoga, a spiritual element is also added. While exploring the connection between the body and mind, you will be guided on a spiritual journey as well.

This is where you decide whether you want that spiritual element, or not, making the decision a little easier.

3. Yoga is More Varied

Due to the length of time yoga has been around, it has allowed for several “adjustments” so-to-speak. When you walk into a yoga class, you don’t really know what to expect. Everything depends on the instructor and the style of yoga they are doing. And seeing as the instructor is in a position to create thousands of different sequences, it always makes for an interesting class.

For those who prefer a more structured session, Pilates is definitely the way to go. Chances are, once you’ve been to a few classes, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what’s coming.

4. Pilates is More Focused

When looking at the physical aspects of both workouts, Pilates is more focused towards aligning your spine and strengthening your core. This means you’ll be going through some rigorous workouts with machines and on the mat.

Yoga, on the other hand, is more of a full-body workout. Yes, Pilates also works the whole body, but yoga is meant to strengthen each muscle at an equal pace.

Ultimately, both workouts leave you flexible and strong, but they differ in terms of muscle focus.

5. Yoga Has More Complex Breathing Techniques

This can be another deciding factor for you, and it involves something as simple as breathing. Now, it’s common knowledge that breathing correctly is necessary for all sports or activities. When you control your breath, you control more of your body for longer.

With yoga, you will be learning essential breathing techniques, which aim not only to relax the body but also to free your mind. It’s not uncommon for instructors to bring meditation into a yoga class because it does embody three elements at once.

Pilates classes will have a much more basic approach to breathing. In fact, it will be geared towards the type of breathing techniques you need when going to the gym and working up a sweat.

6. Pilates Is Slightly More Effective for Weight Loss

Seeing as Pilates involve more intense training, chances are you’ll burn more carbs during a Pilates session. However, there isn’t much of a difference between the two. Yoga can also be very effective if you want to reach a healthier target weight.

7. Yoga Offers More Flexibility

While Pilates and yoga will make your body more flexible, yoga is going to take it another step further. The more advanced you become, the more challenging the poses and sequences get.

Whereas Pilates is going to aim to tone the body while relaxing tense muscles.

8. Both Can Get Pretty Intense

Yoga can get very intense on a spiritual level. Once you master some of the techniques and breathing, you’ll be visiting worlds you don’t think exist.

Pilates is more for people who seek physical intensity, which is also why it’s the better choice for faster weight loss.

Which One is Better?

There is no straight answer. As mentioned in the introduction, both workouts can strengthen your body, give you more mobility, and leave you very flexible.

But remember, Pilates is more of a rehabilitation tool, while yoga leans more towards combining the spirit, body, and mind.

The good news is you don’t have to choose between either. You are at liberty to try them both, and if they both end up sticking, you’ll be getting the best of both worlds.