What’s the Difference Between Yoga and Pilates?

An excellent article on the Sparkpeople website. Introduction below:

I have always thought of the combination of Pilates and yoga as the perfect marriage. Both are transformational, focused methods of movement that facilitate positive change in the body, mind and spirit. In my opinion, their differences complement one another in the best of ways. Pilates is known as a “workout,” and yoga as a “practice”; however, the irony here is that, in order to improve at anything, we have to practice, and when we practice well both Pilates and yoga are can be exceptional workouts. And as you will see, both are worthy of your time and attention for innumerable reasons.

Unless you’re very familiar with both—or a trained instructor—it may be difficult to tell how these two programs are different. In truth, there is a lot of overlap and similarities between yoga and Pilates. And what better way to understand them both than with a little history lesson on each.


Born near Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1880, Joseph H. Pilates had his challenges as a child, suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. His determination to heal led to his study of Eastern and Western forms of exercise, including yoga and ancient Greek and Roman exercise regimens. By the time he was 14, Pilates had quickly become a veritable renaissance man of exercise. Accomplished as a wrestler, diver, skier and a gymnast, he was even asked to pose as a model for anatomical charts. When World War I broke out, he was interned for a year in England, and while in the camp, he taught his fellow internees the physical fitness program he had developed, boasting that they would emerge stronger than they were before imprisonment. Those who followed his program are said to have resisted the influenza epidemic that killed thousands.

Click here to read the full article.