Yoga and Pilates: Their Effects and Differences



The summer season is slowly over. Swimming and hiking, which are the most enjoyable sports activities in the summer, have also decreased. Now is the time to plan sporting activities for the autumn and winter period. I did a short research on pilates and yoga for you. I brought together the features of both activities. So what are yoga and pilates?

Yoga is a teaching that appeared in India for the first time and goes back approximately 5 thousand years. It has developed to cover many types of yoga such as Ashtanga, Kripalu, Bikram, Vinyasa to date. Pilates is a younger exercise than yoga. The history of pilates, named after Joseph Pilates, dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. Joseph Pilates developed this exercise, which was later called by his name, for rehabilitation and strengthening purposes. It is the dance that makes pilates popular. Many dancers around the world have used pilates in their workouts to strengthen their bodies. Pilates is mostly aimed at providing the physical flexibility of the body. However, yoga focuses on the integrity of the soul, body, and mind. Yoga is a mixed life philosophy.



It would not be wrong to say that Pilates is a form of body training. Pilates movements help to correct your posture and make your muscles clear. Ensuring proper breathing is one of the main goals of pilates. The right breath strengthens the relationship between mind and body. During this exercise, accessories such as pilates ball, pilates band, pilates circle can be used. It can be said that yoga is a mixed life philosophy. Yoga creates awareness and allows you to focus on soul and body integrity.

Pilates provides tightening especially in thigh, abdomen, and buttocks since the first sessions. It is effective in this that pilates movements work all the muscles in the body, including the weak muscles. Pilates is a breath-focused exercise, reduces stress, and improves blood circulation. On the other hand, yoga aims to stretch the muscles in your body with movements called Asana. In this way, your spine strengthens and chronic muscle pain is prevented. Yoga provides you to be more lively, energetic, and positive with the “awareness” feeling it provides. Both yoga and pilates are based on the understanding that the body and mind are one. However, yoga also includes “soul” in the union of body and mind. While Pilates is an exercise focused on how you can contribute to your daily life by using body and mind together; yoga aims to focus on the unity of body, mind, and soul.

What Are Yoga and Pilates?


Yoga is a philosophical system that aims to educate the soul and body in a number of ways and in this way, to dominate the real body and spiritual life. Yoga from India means ‘integration’ in Sanskrit. The ‘integration’ here is the integration of body and soul. It also means that the spiritual essence of this person is the unification of the whole universe.

Pilates is a physical fitness system developed by Joseph Hubert Pilates in the early twentieth century. This exercise system, developed to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, and improve the overall health of the body, includes exercises suitable for different activities to work every part of the body. The aim of Pilates is to ensure mind-body integrity. Pilates has become very popular in recent years. Today, it is used to improve the health of everyone, from people with various ailments to professional athletes in fitness centers, private studios, rehabilitation centers, and hospitals. Pilates has managed to attract many people with its practicality today.



Yoga has a spiritual side. Pilates is different. Combating many diseases such as spinal curvature and rheumatism, Joseph Pilates has developed pilates with his own physiotherapy and sports discipline. Pilates is an exercise. Yoga is an Indian philosophical system. The essence of the philosophy of yoga is the goal of achieving a state of constant and eternal happiness and unity, which is not dependent on anything. The movements performed during the yoga session activate the transformation points called chakras. Thus, it allows people to integrate with the infinite energy of the universe. All you need in yoga is your body and your breath. For Pilates, you need equipment. Pilates need tools such as pilates ball, tape, cushion, hoop, and jump rope.

The Effects of Yoga and Pilates on the Body


Although yoga and pilates have a lot in common, their philosophies and effects on the body are different. You should read the benefits of both exercises, then try both, and make the decision accordingly. Yoga and pilates are the most effective types of exercises for increasing the body’s resistance and flexibility, strengthening weak muscles, and strengthening the body’s immune system. Pilates is mostly aimed at providing the physical flexibility of the body. However, yoga is a life philosophy that focuses on the integrity of the soul, body, and mind.



Pilates is a form of body training. It improves your posture and makes your muscles clear. Creating the right posture not only makes it easier for you to breathe but also helps to relieve pain in your body. It allows all the muscles in your body to function, including weak muscles. It increases concentration, creates awareness. The correct breathing technique is the basis of pilates. The concentration of breath helps to improve your mind and body relationship. It provides a fast tightening in the body. It allows a rapid tightening of the abdomen, hips, and legs from the first sessions. It improves blood circulation and reduces stress. Breathing correctly, increasing your concentration, improving your posture will increase blood circulation and thus reduce the stress level.

Yoga is a way of raising awareness between body and mind, where age is not important and experience is not required. It strengthens the person both physically and spiritually. It increases life energy. It increases the quality of daily life. Yoga, whose effects have become noticeable since the first sessions, helps to achieve physical, mental, and spiritual integrity. This sense of awareness allows you to be more at peace with yourself. It keeps you alive, makes you energetic. It increases the endurance of the body. In yoga, especially the muscles surrounding the spine are worked out. This allows the spine to gain flexibility and strength. Chronic muscle pain decreases. The purpose of the yoga poses called asana is to flex the muscles with the right movements. Joint and muscles gaining mobility make it possible to reduce and prevent pain. The benefits of both yoga and pilates are not limited to these.



The effect of pilates on human anatomy is groundbreaking, on the other hand, the magical touch of yoga carries people to peace and comfort beyond the physical world. When these two are combined, you are going on a strong journey that constantly improves and progresses. This journey offers you the key to improving body, mind and spirit at the same time. The Pilates system was created in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Concentrating on posture, pilates works the muscles in the deep, strengthens the muscles in the core region, improves body coordination while improving the posture of the body. Yoga is based on a very ancient philosophy. It unites the mind and body, improves muscle tone, increases flexibility, improves breathing and provides a feeling of calm; In other words, it is a system that ensures “being good” from top to bottom. Yoga is a lifestyle philosophy that goes beyond physical boundaries… This philosophy provides integrity by transferring from mind to body and from body to soul. Yoga and pilates were created to have a healthier and happier lifestyle, as well as having many effects on the body. We can list some of them as follows:

  • Stretching, strengthening and tightening the whole body
  • Improving posture and extending the spine
  • Improve balance and body coordination
  • Creating personal awareness and harmony between body and mind
  • Teaching good and correct breathing
  • Increasing stamina
  • Accelerating the blood circulation and relaxing the mind

The Benefits of Yoga and Pilates


Pilates and yoga, shown as the most popular disciplines of recent years, has numerous benefits for those who care about their soul and body. The common point of these two healthy life teachings, whose fundamentals and philosophies are quite different from each other, is that they are systems that train and revive the body. These two disciplines, which strengthen weak muscles and increase body flexibility, strengthen immunity, and protect the body against diseases.



Yoga, which is defined as the oldest “self-improvement system”, deeply affects the entire life of the person by creating a holistic perspective. Born in India about 5000 years ago, yoga’s adoption in the Western world dates back to 100 years. Yoga, which is a set of postures and positions that develop all muscle groups, provides balance both physically and spiritually. Techniques based on healing the mind, body, and mental health and based on healing the individual are frequently used in yoga. A flexible yoga session can be organized by mixing various postures, alignments, and positions. In yoga styles with an energetic flow, the breath is taken from the nose and given out again.

Pilates was developed in the early 20th century by athlete Joseph Pilates in order to improve and strengthen his body muscles. Emphasizing that the body and mind are connected, there are many movements to strengthen the spine and core muscles. Various stretching movements are performed at the beginning and end of the lessons consisting of active movements. In Pilates, movements concentrate on the arm, leg, back, and hip area, primarily the core and spine muscles. In the discipline where the elements of breath and concentration are important, the breath is taken from the nose and given out orally.

What Are the Advantages of Doing Yoga and Pilates?


Yoga integrates the spirit. Aiming to reveal the unifying power of the mind, body, and soul trio, yoga focuses on self-healing and healing by providing spiritual integrity. A variety of posture techniques and alignment positions help raise awareness to help achieve a healthier body and soul. Feeling more energetic, happy, and peaceful is one of the main goals of yoga. Yoga, which reduces stress levels, supports physical development, alleviates chronic pain, and increases the level of oxygen in the body. In movements performed using the body’s own weight, the circulatory system is regulated and the immune system is strengthened. “Does Yoga tighten?” is wondered by many. The teaching that gives the body flexibility and elasticity have a firming effect. Yoga, consisting of many different postures, tightens the body when performed regularly.



Pilates corrects the posture and improves the muscles: In the pilates that Joseph Pilates calls “control”, the focus is on the physical body size of the entity. Having a correct posture is one of the main goals of pilates. With the correct posture, breathing becomes easier and body weights decrease. The system that works all the muscles in the body is extremely effective in strengthening weak muscles. Improves blood circulation, tightens the body: Pilates, which is based on correct breathing techniques and increased concentration, eliminates posture disorders, and supports the increase of blood circulation and the body to gain flexibility. It provides a healthier and more energetic body. In the pilates where all body movements are applied, the leg, abdomen, and hip muscles are tightened and the muscles become evident without swelling.

When pilates and yoga are compared, it is seen that pilates relieves posture disorders and reduces lower back pain thanks to the movements focused on the abdominal and back muscles. It is possible that the muscles weakened by major traffic accidents or various traumas can gain flexibility and strengthen with pilates. Yoga, on the other hand, improves blood circulation with postures that focus on the body and mind at the same time and provides a detox effect in the body. Yoga provides life energy by increasing inner peace and helps to enjoy life. You can do both yoga and pilates simultaneously for a healthy life or you can make your decision by trying both teachings.

Which Is More Beneficial: Yoga or Pilates?


As we all know, the purpose of yoga is to unite the body, mind, and spirit. In the view of the Yogis, the mind and body are a whole, and if they are given the right tools and have the right environment, they can achieve harmony and heal themselves. For this reason, yoga is curative. It increases your awareness about the posture, alignment, and pattern of movement of your body. It makes the body more flexible and helps you relax even in today’s stress-filled world. This is the primary reason why people start yoga – feeling more fit, more energetic, happier, and peaceful. Yoga is mostly done in groups, on a yoga mat, and in the presence of a yoga instructor. For resistance, the body’s own weight is used, and it is necessary to focus very well in order to flow from one pose (posture) to another. There are a wide variety of Yoga styles. They differ according to the basic thing they emphasize. But one is not good or bad than the other. The style you apply varies according to your personal preference or need.



For example, Vinyasa Yoga has been developed to strengthen the body and mind with synchronized breathing exercises and successive movements. Vinyasa means “breathing with synchronous movements”. The person learns to move from one movement to another while breathing or exhaling. Vinyasa Yoga is derived from Vinyasa Ashtanga Yoga, which includes the binding movements of the Vinyasa system. The basic principle; to increase the circulation, to warm the body, to sweat, and to provide a detox effect to the muscles and organs. Kundalini Yoga, which is also introduced to the broad masses by Yogi Bhajan, is a system with techniques to awaken and raise certain levels of energy that is said to be present in the coccyx. For this, it is necessary to learn the chakras firstly. The exercises include yoga postures, breathing techniques, mantra, and meditation.

Pilates also achieves almost the same goals as yoga through controlled movement series. The main difference between pilates and yoga is that pilates is not only made on mats, but also with pilates tools. The purpose of the exercises is to strengthen the abdominal muscles, correct the posture, stabilize and lengthen the spine and increase the overall body balance and strength. Pilates gives you longer, slim, and dancer-like lines. Pilates works the whole body. Pilates employs the entire body, emphasizing control, precision, and concentration. Movements are not made quickly or repeatedly; The important thing is to make the movement clear and accurate. Abdominal muscles, lower back, and hip (“House of Power”) are the center of all movements that allow the remaining part of the body to move freely.



Focusing on ensuring the stabilization of the center strengthens the person from the inside out and is very important for the development of the student. Pilates is a sport that is suitable for rehabilitation and protects from injuries because of working without applying a load to joints. Thanks to the six principles of pilates (breath, concentration, control, precision, fluency, centering), we can say that pilates is the least challenging sport compared to other sports. The balance between strength and flexibility ensures that all muscle groups work in a healthy, fit, and symmetrical way, offering a slimmer, balanced, and stronger body.

After getting information about these two techniques above, if you still have question marks about which technique is right for you, here’s the answer: Do both together! Both techniques are suitable to complement each other by nature. Gain flexibility in yoga and use it in pilates. Strengthen your abdominal muscles in the reformer (reformer = pilates tool) and witness the development of your yoga poses. Add the breathing techniques of pilates and the meditative states of yoga to your daily routine and watch the stress disappear in your daily life. The benefits of both techniques are already proven, both are established techniques, and with an accurate and experienced instructor, you will surely achieve the goals you want for yourself!

The Differences Between Yoga and Pilates


Do you know what are the differences between the two physical activities, pilates, and yoga, which are the most sought after by those with a healthier body and a more stress-free life goal?

Spreading from India to the world, yoga is a discipline of meditative origin that provides physical and spiritual integrity. In Sanskrit, the word “Yuj”, which means “unification” and “controlling”, means much more than just a sport that serves to shape and strengthen the body. The essence of the philosophy of yoga is that “is not dependent on anything; It is the aim of reaching the state of continuous and eternal happiness and unity. Movements called poses during a yoga session enable the individual to integrate with the infinite energy of the universe by stretching the body and stretching the muscles, as well as activating the energy conversion points called chakras in the body according to Hinduism.



In pilates, the situation is somewhat different. Combating many diseases such as rickets, spinal curvature, and fever rheumatism, Joseph Pilates thought that exercises could be useful in order to overcome these ailments and he developed a great improvement in a short time thanks to his own physiotherapy and sports discipline. This method, which was later used in the rehabilitation of patients who were injured in World War I and who remained in bed for a long time, gives very good results especially in posture disorders and connective tissue weaknesses. Nowadays, those who want to have a slimmer and more elegant appearance by tightening their body show great interest in pilates.

The only thing you use in traditional yoga disciplines is your own body and breath. However, today, yoga centers providing yoga training use simple auxiliary equipment such as yoga blocks, mats, and blankets to keep the head and neck comfortable. However, pilates offers a great variety of auxiliary equipment. In the Pilates mat work discipline made on the ground, a balance ball called the swiss ball, tires of various resistance levels, and tools such as the pilates circle are used. In addition, there are many different equipment options in reformer pilates, which is a version of pilates applied with a special tool designed with a completely resistant spring system.



There are many different yoga disciplines. Vinyasa, Yin, Ashtanga, Hatha, Bhakti are some of these disciplines. However, the common feature of all yoga disciplines is that the poses applied during the session are static and concentration oriented. In pilates, working interconnected or different muscle groups; we practice push-pull movements that we resist against a certain resistance or balance-oriented movements that we will do with our own body weight. Perhaps the most obvious difference between yoga and pilates is that pilates is a sport, and yoga is a journey that you will go with your mind and body. We make the analogy of “journey” for yoga because in yoga teaching students to go through the following 8 stages:

  • Yama: The first step of the eight-step yoga journey, also known as “the retreat”, consists of universal moral disciplines such as not harming, truthfulness, stealing, and controlling the self.
  • Niyama: The second step, Niyama, points to personal discipline. Niyama, also known as observation, contains disciplines such as being pure, grateful, reading, and remembering.
  • Asana: Asana, meaning yoga posture or yoga pose, forms the third step.
  • Pranayama: In the fourth step, it is about breathing, which is accepted as the energy of life in yoga. The Pranayama step involves the control of breath, that is, life energy.
  • Pratyahara: The fifth yoga step, also known as isolation, Pratyahara means withdrawing emotions or sense organs.
  • Dharana: This step is associated with concentration and focus.
  • Dhyana: The seventh step of the yoga journey, Dhyana is also called meditation.
  • Samadhi: The last step, the enlightenment step, is called Samadhi. This step, also known as freedom, aims to unite consciousness with the object of meditation.

Practicing Both Yoga and Pilates Together


Yoga and pilates, which are among the outstanding sports in recent years, are preferred due to their relaxing and calming effects. Although there is a rivalry between yoga and pilates that are often compared with each other, you can actually give your body a high level of flexibility and form by doing both sports. The principle of pilates and yoga is to add flexibility to the body and strengthen the weak muscles that cannot be developed with basic sports. Yoga and pilates, which improve body resistance, also have positive effects on the immune system. It is also a proven fact that those who stop doing sports prevent deformation in their body by doing pilates and yoga.

Yoga is a branch blended with Far Eastern philosophy, focused on self-relaxation and development. By doing yoga, you can lower your stress level, benefit from its calming effect, and gain concentration and focus power. Yoga is also a teaching that supports psychology and healthy life with its benefits such as feeling happy, positive thinking, and enjoying life. In addition to its therapeutic feature, yoga, which raises the coordination between mind and body, is performed on the mat using body weight. There are many yoga styles and which yoga style you need to choose depends on your personal preference and needs.



Pilates is a system that provides physical stretching. It is a sport that can be done on a pilates mat or accompanied by pilates tools. The therapeutic feature of pilates, which greatly strengthens the abdominal and back muscles, is at the forefront. Instead of doing pilates movements fast, doing them correctly and in full coordination is important in terms of giving the right to pilates. Pilates, which allow them to work without straining the joints and gives the person strength and flexibility, also extends the muscles and provides a thinner body.

You can choose between pilates and yoga according to your own body needs or by combining these two teachings, you can give your body different features. While gaining strength and flexibility to your physical body with pilates, you can catch the soul and mind integrity with yoga. You can get the full benefit from both sports by doing more correct yoga postures with your muscles strengthened with Pilates.

The Reasons for Practicing Yoga and Pilates


Yoga, an old and well-established body discipline, affects not only the appearance but also our inner world. Yoga has endless benefits to the soul, body, and mind.

  • By doing yoga, you can grow your muscles in 1 year and look thinner.
  • Yoga also allows you to do a breathing exercise and learning the right breathing techniques is very beneficial for your health.
  • Yoga helps your internal organs work better. Your digestive and gas problems are reduced.
  • If you have a stressful life, doing yoga regularly protects you from the harmful effects of stress.
  • Doing yoga regularly in the autumn and winter seasons will keep your immune system strong.
  • Since yoga is a calm and peaceful work, it is among the least risk of injury.
  • To experience the beneficial effects of yoga, regular and disciplined work is a must. This is the only challenging feature of yoga.


Pilates is a bodywork discipline developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates in the 1880s. Today, we owe a lot to Joseph Hubertus Pilates who received training based on problems in his own body and then established his own discipline. Thanks to Joseph Hubertus Pilates, we can apply Pilates, which is the best way of many posture and deformities, strengthening muscles and having a healthy body.

  • Pilates is one of the rare disciplines that will enable you to develop your muscles both healthy and fast.
  • Pilates allows everyone to set the appropriate exercise dose, as it is mostly worked with your own body weight and breath.
  • It is the Pilates that best shapes and heals the hump that we have unintentionally developed sitting at our tables all day long, the legs we have forced to wear high-heeled shoes, and the belly that hurled when we gain a little weight.
  • Pilates, combined with a healthy and balanced diet, provides fast fat burning. You can start with the support of a specialist in healthy nutrition.
  • Pilates, just like yoga, strengthens your immune system and protects you from diseases.
  • Pilates can be done both as a class lesson in the halls and with instrumental studies called “reformer”. Being a developed technique makes pilates different.

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Savaş Ateş

I like meditation and yoga. I read a lot of books about them. I applied them in my daily life. I want to write about my experiences.

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