The difference between Yoga and Pilates 

Which form of movement suits you best?

Has sitting in front of your computer for days at home made you feel unfit?Of course you can go for a run or take a boot camp class in the woods. Or are you already high enough in your energy and want to get fitter in a relaxing way.

Yoga and Pilates are good alternative workouts that would suit you well. You feel fitter, you become stronger, and it is less stressful for your physical complaints. It is still unclear to many people what exactly the difference is between yoga and Pilates.

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Written by: Sanne

There are certainly differences, and similarities in exercises, but both forms of movement have a different purpose. In order to properly orientate what is the best choice for you, we explain exactly what the difference is and how both forms can help you specifically. This way you can make the right choice and face life everyday smoothly, healthy and fit.

The difference

Although both forms of movement are focused on becoming aware of one's own body, posture and breathing. The main difference between Yoga and Pilates is that in Yoga the emphasis is on finding balance between body and mind and combining movement and meditation.

Not comparable

Helga Sylvester, owner of The Pilates Place Rotterdam, teaches Pilates and has been asked for years whether there is a difference. She also believes that there is definitely a difference and always compares it with running and cycling. In theory you could practice both these two methods, one week you go for Yoga and the other week for Pilates. 

"You move in both sports, but each has a different approach and goal."


So, what exactly is Pilates? To get a good idea of this, Helga, who qualified with Pilates years ago and still enjoys teaching and participating every day, explains exactly how Pilates works. "Pilates is a specific training method, with the aim of making your body stronger and more flexible and getting it in balance. You do this by means of stretching, it makes your muscles stronger and ensures that you stand straight."

She also explains what changes in your body. "Your powerhouse is the most important part of your body that works hard during these exercises. This refers to your core which consists of the middle of your body, which includes your buttocks, abs and back muscles. By training this part of your body your muscles will become strong and stable and you will start moving better in your life, including better walking and sitting."


Joseph Pilates once came up with this method, he worked a lot with people who were not well balanced or were sick. His method made people move better and they became fitter and stronger.

Now years later, we can still use these exercises and it helps us change postures from sitting in front of a computer or telephone. Complaints that arise as a result will simply disappear. In this way, short and weak muscles are made longer and stronger, and you train for a flat stomach and good muscles. Moreover, it is suitable for any age, so whether you want to be more conscious with your body as a young adult or as a retiree would like to stay in balance and be fit and strong.

Helga's goal is to make people stronger from within and to give them more balance. You will be able to maintain a better posture, which reduces the risk of injuries and back and neck complaints.

“My day is successful when people go home feeling good, have worked hard on their bodies and are energized instead of exhausted’’


Yoga is about the connection between body and mind, with the result: feeling deeply relaxed after a yoga class. Yoga was seen by the philosopher Patanjali as a philosophical movement, but this is not only a philosophy but also a way of life and a method of practice that is about connecting and balancing all layers of our existence that seem to be opposite.

You can think of body and mind, tension and relaxation, and outside and inside. Doing yoga exercises will restore balance and make you lively and flexible.

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You do not necessarily have to be flexible to participate in these exercises. All these different postures ensure better blood circulation throughout the body. This ensures that you not only feel physically fitter, but it also gives you more energy and space mentally and emotionally.

Moreover, yoga ensures that you are fully focused on the here and now during the class and by paying attention to your body you increase your inner consciousness. In this way you gain insight into the interaction between thinking and feeling, so you will be able to recognize signs of fatigue and stress sooner.

Did you make your choice? View the range of pilates or yoga teachers and start your classes