The Many Benefits of Yoga and Pilates

The Many Benefits of Yoga and Pilates

Yoga and Pilates are not a new system of exercise, but there seems to have been a resurgence of interest in these health and fitness styles after celebrity endorsements and a general increase in exposure. Done correctly, Yoga and Pilates can increase both physical and mental health, improve flexibility and reduce chances of injury, stiffness and pain in later life. Our latest article looks at the difference between Yoga and Pilates, and the health benefits that have been associated with both.

What is the Difference Between Yoga and Pilates?

Both Yoga and Pilates offer strength, control, endurance, flexibility and stress-relief but one of the main differences associated with Yoga and Pilates is the spiritual element in each. Pilates classes rarely emphasise the spiritual experience in class, whereas Yoga classes tend to put more of a focus on the subject. In addition to this, Pilates classes tend to focus on core strength as the main benchmark of physical fitness, building the core through a number of exercises that also build muscle tone, flexibility and body control.

Yoga, on the other hand, tends to focus on broad muscle groups and overall flexibility with more of an emphasis on mental well-being as well. Classes in Yoga can range from very gentle and nourishing, to a difficult hot and sweaty workout! A great amount of variety exists in both Yoga and Pilates, and the level of difficulty in class is often dependent on the instructor as well as the level of the class.

It is important to note that the two are not mutually exclusive and many people benefit from a regime focusing on both Pilates and Yoga in order to enjoy the benefits from both. Both offer general flexibility and fitness and it is common for the two to be used in conjunction with each other.

The Benefits of Pilates and Yoga

Yoga traditionally was used as an ancient form of meditation to engage the body and the mind. The most common form of Yoga is Hatha, which focuses on physical poses and breathing techniques to relax the mind and body and improve general fitness and wellbeing. Yoga is most often seen as a path to overall self-improvement with benefits ranging from weight loss to stress-reduction. Pilates is a younger form of physical exercise, developed in the early 20th century to help tone partially immobilized World War I soldiers who were struggling with regular exercise.

The exercises involved with Pilates are loosely based on Yoga, as well as some aspects of the Martial Arts and the focus is on total body control. Mental benefits of both Yoga and Pilates can be reduced stress due to the breathing techniques used in both. The exercises used in both can help regulate sleep patterns and improve mood, as well as being beneficial for those suffering from fatigue or chronic pain. The deep postures and breathing techniques can not only help mental well-being but physical well-being as well and both Yoga and Pilates are often prescribed for those suffering from chronic injuries as a form of rehabilitation

Health Benefits of Pilates

  • Improved flexibility
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Improved posture
  • Injury rehabilitation
  • Improved concentration
  • Increased lung capacity
  • Stress management.

Health Benefits of Yoga

  • Improved cardiovascular system
  • Improved muscle strength
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Increased flexibility
  • Injury rehabilitation
  • Improved posture
  • Reduced stress and fatigue.


As we can see there are a number of overlapping benefits to both Yoga and Pilates. Both improve strength, endurance and flexibility and both can be beneficial in stress-management and mental health improvement. Regardless of the small differences between Pilates and Yoga, both are fantastic forms of physical fitness and mental wellbeing and a number of health benefits can be gained from both when combined with a healthy diet and generally healthy lifestyle.