Understanding the Differences & Benefits of Pilates vs Yoga | Garuda Blog

Understanding the Differences & Benefits of Pilates vs Yoga

In an age of wellness, yoga and Pilates are both highly celebrated practices, each offering numerous benefits for the mind, body and soul. 

Not only do they help develop the breath, as well as flexibility and strength, but they are also a wonderful way to reduce stress and improve overall mental health. 

But we often come across the age-old question – what’s the difference between yoga and Pilates? 

Although there are several, we have outlined a few of the most comprehensive differences below, as well as the benefits, so you can decide what works best for you. 

Understanding the Differences

First and foremost, when it comes to yoga and Pilates, each have their own incredible and unique history. 

The first developments of yoga appeared over 5,000 years ago, with some researchers believing that it dates back as far as 10,000 years ago. In fact, some of the earliest recordings of yoga were transcribed on palm leaves, which, due to their fragility, created a discrepancy on when it actually first began. But regardless of transcriptions, the knowledge has withstood the test of time by being passed down verbally through generations to become the practice we know and love today. 

Pilates, on the other hand, appeared quite a bit later in the early 20th-century. Joseph Pilates, born near Düsseldorf, Germany, brought the practice to England during the first world war to develop physical fitness and to help patients who couldn’t walk. It later appeared in the USA during the 1920s and has since gained in popularity and a deep appreciation. 

Another one of the main differences between these two practices is the sense of spirituality that is connected with each. Yoga’s main purpose is to unite the mind, body, and spirit by encouraging a harmonious balance between each. In other words, yoga tends to promote a ‘mentally nourishing’ experience rather than a physically sweaty and difficult one, which can be experienced with Pilates. 

Finally, while practicing yoga, you will find that you are flowing from one pose to another, where Pilates can form more repetitions of a particular movement.

Now for the benefits…

Where do we start! When it comes to the benefits of yoga vs Pilates, both are brimming with possibilities on how it can affect your overall well-being. 

The benefits of yoga, as previously mentioned, come with the ability to align the three pillars of yourself – mind, body and soul. It is the union of everything we do, a celebration of every moment.  

It also incorporates mindfulness and meditation more than most practices. This is particularly helpful with mental health and reducing stress that can come up in everyday life. This is especially important right now with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Pilates can boost body conditioning and help protect your body from injuries as you develop more strength. This can help you progress on your fitness journey as you decide to try new and challenging things. 

By now, you might have a better idea of which practice you might prefer. However,  there is also the option to combine these practices, which can help you achieve harmony between your mind and body quicker than you thought. 

For example, Pilates focuses more on developing overall strength, more specifically, core muscles, which can help a yogi perform yoga poses that may have otherwise been difficult. 

On the other hand, if you understand how to practice yoga, you can bring a meditative approach to your Pilates, helping to stimulate that mental nourishment. 
What is more, both yoga and Pilates focus on breath, which has been known to help relieve pain, stimulate the lymphatic system, lower blood pressure, improve digestion and more. So, there is no question that by incorporating deep breathing more often into your daily routine through the two practices, you will see a significant boost in overall wellbeing.

Where does Garuda fit in? 

At Garuda, we have an innovative approach by using movement rooted in yoga, Pilates and even dance which help to create greater ease and fluidity of movement. We have found a way to combine the best of each, ensuring that you receive all the benefits of a cardiovascular workout while stretching the mind and body. 

During our virtual classes, you’ll learn how to control your body through precise stretches and actions, placing an emphasis on smooth, seamless movements without any stress on your joints. This is ideal for those recovering from a physical injury, looking for an alternative to traditional gym workouts during lockdown or even already an accomplished athlete. 

Join the Garuda Family

Although our London studio is closed, we are still running virtual classes to make sure you keep your mind in touch with your body and develop a more resilient, healthy body. 

You can join daily online Matwork classes with James D’Silva, as well as one-to-one personal training sessions with all our teachers via the Zoom app. 

For more information, visit our class schedule


“Stretching, breathing and way of movement that combines with strength and flexibility exercises has really helped me.”Jennifer Shulman