Yoga vs Pilates: Which Should You Do?


On the surface, Pilates and yoga can look pretty similar—they both use mats, props, and body resistance movements. But when you take a class in either discipline, you discover they feel pretty different. So, what is the difference between the two? And how do you know which one is right for you based on your fitness goals? 



Want to Burn Calories?

In general, Yoga and Pilates aren’t the most calorie-burning workouts: Most people will use up between 120 to 178 calories during 30 minutes of yoga, which is equivalent to what you would burn during a brisk walk. 

But if you are looking to burn calories with one of these disciplines, you’re going to get slightly more of a caloric burn with Pilates than you do with yoga—about 15–20 [more] calories per session. You’re won't get the calorie burning benefits of a 5k or a sprint, but you’ll get a little something.


Want to Build Muscle?

If getting stronger is your goal, Pilates is generally more effective for a few reasons. Because [it] focuses on building core strength and can incorporate resistance equipment (like a reformer), you’ll have more of an opportunity to build muscle tone than in your average yoga class. Pilates equipment is an effective way to add resistance since the springs on the reformers can be measured in pounds—like the weights you use in other strength training classes.


Want to Improve Flexibility?

Flexibility is a key component of any fitness routine. The practice of yoga can make your body more flexible, giving your muscles and your joints a greater range of motion. Though it may be sometimes uncomfortable to remain in a pose, stretching the muscles and joints allows you to move deeper into the pose. A supple, flexible body is less prone to injuries because it can withstand physical stress.


Want to Reduce Stress?

Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. Specific breathing patterns (called pranayama in yoga) can help you slip into a "rest and digest" state that allows your mind and body to get some relief. Yoga poses also help stretch areas of the body that are full of tension helping to relieve the stress within your body as well. 


And The Winner Is...

You can’t go wrong with either class, both are great components for overall wellness. They both are a part of a great workout routine. In other words, together the two form quite the fitness dream team.