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Which exercise is better, Pilates or Yoga?

Updated on July 18, 2011
Gym Aerobics, Pilates, and Yoga in South Delhi
Gym Aerobics, Pilates, and Yoga in South Delhi | Source

Pilates and Yoga both are excellent forms of exercises to give overall workout to mind and body but as Pilates already includes some exercises of yoga, it can be termed as a much more advanced form of yoga. Now, before understanding which one is a better exercise, we must first learn what Yoga and Pilates are, so for Yoga which I have already covered in my previous article, you can go through The Ultimate Benefits of Yoga.

Now I have not covered Pilates before so you can read this. Pilates is a method of mental and physical training that was invented in the 20th century by a German gymnast named Joseph Pilates. Pilates is a combined form of exercise including yoga, ballet, and gymnastics. Pilates puts special emphasis on breathing and relaxation and building muscle strength with mental control.

The creator of Pilates, Joseph Pilates, was suffering from asthma, rheumatic fever, and rickets since he was a very small child, so he decided to start studying the human body in order to find different ways to strengthen the body parts with exercise. After some years of training with his own exercise regimen, he became a great athlete, excelling in swimming, boxing, and athletics. In the year 1912, John Pilates was selected to teach self-defense to detectives at Scotland Yard. During his lifetime, John published two books. In the year 1934, John published a book by the name of “Your Health” and in 1945, he published a book by the name of “Return to Life Through Contrology”. Contrology was the name he initially gave to the method now known as Pilates. After a few years, this book was exported to USA and since then, John Pilates has been adding more and more followers to this exercise regime.

Best Pilates Core Workout Video

Method of Pilates lies on six essential pillars which are concentration, control, centralization, precision, fluidity of breathing, and fluidity of movement. According to Pilates, the above six elements of this method must be present in each of the exercises. The rule is to perform these exercises very slowly and conscious, coordinated with utilization of proper breathing techniques. In this way, a person can achieve a leaner and flexible body which is very less prone to stiffening or any type of disease conditions. Pilates can be done directly on the floor or on a mat or something to cushion the movements. Pilates also uses chairs and use of elastic bands.

In Pilates, the most important thing is to centralize all the power with proper concentration and control with flow of movement and breathing. Pilates strengthens the powerhouse that consists of entire abdominal area and back of body, which initiates and sustains each of the movements, so you don’t lose your balance during exercise.

The most important thing to remember is that throughout the entire session of Pilates, a person must keep an absolute control on breathing to enhance lung capacity and enhance blood circulation. This induces strength, mental coordination, good posture, and flexibility.

Joseph Pilates designed 500 types of different exercises, but before doing any one of them, it is very important for a person to meet his/her family physician to assess if he/she has a risk when practicing these exercises. However, Pilates is recommended for people of both sexes, male or female, and all ages including kids, adults, and elders. Some people also call Pilates as Western Yoga which can be called much more advanced form of yoga. The main reason for Pilates becoming so much popular all over the world is its extensive practice in the areas of sports and entertainment.

So least but not last, both Pilates and Yoga are good forms of exercises and doing any of the methods also depends on individual goals (as suggested by Simone Smith in original question). If your goals are peace, relaxation, flexibility, mental fitness, then you can practice Yoga but if your goals are core strengthening, physical therapy, better breathing, then you can practice Pilates.


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    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      @Earth Angel, blessings to you too. I am really happy that you are always here at hubpages to greet new hubbers just like you did me more than 3 years ago. It depicts the beauty of the community and provides comfort to the site user.

      @ocbill, actually what you are talking about is correct here. Ashtanga Yoga is a branch of yoga but has some different types of poses than the original yoga. I was talking about yoga as a whole. Ashtanga was a very old system and was initialized by an Indian by the name of K. Pattabhi Jois. Yes, I agree it helps in building the core as your instructor is suggesting.

    • ocbill profile image


      7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      Hey Soni,

      Nice hub but "Pilates puts special emphasis on breathing and relaxation and building muscle strength"

      and then you mentioned Yoga does not build core strength. I am doing Ashtanga Yoga and it not an easy form. The instructor (male) for P90x is for core strengthening and uses Ashtanga yoga for strength and flexibility. I think it also helps to build the core. After reading more on this from other sources it is a great form of weight loss and sculpting. Since the course also has Core Synergystics with some Pilates moves it has almost all you need. Overall, I agree it is best to build the core.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      7 years ago

      Dearest Soni2006,

      I'm still here! With my publishing company being a more than full time job I don't get a chance to really write Hubs! I do try and comment on others as often as I can!

      You, however are quite prolific! I am thrilled! And I hope it is paying off financially as well!

      You are more than welcome for the initial boost! It took sooooooooooo long for anyone to become my fan in the beginning! I vowed then to make sure new Hubbers who were adding good content knew they were welcome and appreciated!

      Glad we are able to reconnect! 733 Hubs!!?? Now you are MY inspiration!

      Blessings always, EarthAngel!

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I am really glad to see a comment from an experienced person of both workouts. Earth Angel thanks for your visit.

      One more thing I would like to say I am trying to remember. Hey.....yes you were the first person who left fanmail on my HP account three years back. Thank you so much coming in again. Where were you for such a long time?

      I will never forget the first fanmail I ever received at hubpages. Your words were so kind and supportive that they led me to publish 733 hubs in three years time. You are an inspiration. Welcome back dear. Keep coming.

      Plus let me know I can ever do something for you.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      7 years ago

      Wonderful Hub Soni2006!

      I have done both yoga and pilates for years! For me, combined with walking/hiking, the combination is perfect!

      Thank you for sharing!

      Blessings always, EarthAngel!

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hello zzron. Thank you so much for the link to such an old but refreshing video - Let's get physical. We were babies at that time.

    • zzron profile image


      7 years ago from Houston, TX.

      Great hub brother, add this video to make it complete.


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