Because Pilates and Yoga can both be performed on a mat using one’s own body weight, many people assume they are basically the same. While they do share some similarities (e.g. both build strength, improve flexibility, and emphasize mindful movement), they are two different types of exercise.
Pilates has been described as the strength-training cousin to Yoga. “Where Yoga stretches and flows, Pilates strengthens and tones.” Perhaps the biggest difference between the two disciplines is that Pilates utilizes specialized equipment such as the reformer, cadillac, wunda chair, ladder barrel, etc.
Pilates focuses on finding stability in the core so that the rest of the body can move freely and efficiently. Although Pilates requires concentration and a strong mind-body connection, it does not have the same meditative and spiritual focus often found in a Yoga class. The two methods can be a great compliment to one another and many people who study both find that Pilates benefits their Yoga practice and vice versa.