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Family Sports & Fitness

Stretch Your Limits

Both Pilates and yoga are considered low impact exercises and have many similarities and positions. The main difference is that in yoga you usually hold each pose – in Pilates you continue moving.

Many of the exercises you’ll do in a Pilates workout are inspired by yoga, and the postures in yoga are incredibly similar to the shapes and positions used in Pilates exercises. Yet there are exercises that are unique to Pilates as well as those that are specific to yoga alone.

Hold On
A major difference between the two is that one generally holds each yoga pose from 15 seconds to a minute or more; in Pilates, you move through poses at a slightly faster pace. In a typical yoga class you remain in one position and encourage the body to stretch deeper by breathing deeply. Pilates practitioners stretch as far as possible within a limited amount of time using resistance, core awareness, and breath.

Both are considered mind-body forms of exercise, intended to cultivate greater awareness and connection between the body and the mind.

Both tend to focus on the “journey” of moving, rather than the end goal, which can be anything from a stronger, well-toned body to peace of mind.

Both encourage you to focus on the present moment and the movement itself rather than the outcome.

Both mat-based programs tone and condition the muscles using body weight as a natural resistance tool.

Both need little more than a sticky mat as equipment.

•   Yoga also incorporates simple props used to enhance comfort and form (such as blocks, cushions and straps).

•   Some Pilates mat exercises use props that can either increase the challenge (by adding resistance) or aid in form, such as the magic circle (a resistance ring), inflated balls, or resistance bands.

Both improve circulation and highly oxygenate the system.

Yoga concentrates mostly on increasing strength and flexibility of the spine and limbs.
•   Pilates focuses on building abdominal strength first, and then symmetrical musculature as well as overall flexibility.

Yoga concentrates on the breath first, then focuses on deepening a pose.
•   Pilates movements emanate from the center (core) and extend through the limbs.

The primary goals of yoga are proper alignment in the poses and to stay connected to the breath.
•   Pilates’ primary goal is the precision of movement, and then, the coordination of that movement with the breath.

Breathing patterns are different:
•   Yoga breath is either ujjayi, a smooth, heat-inducing breath that sounds like the ocean, or kapalabhati, a rapid breath that creates greater internal heat.

•   Pilates breathing, for most exercises, is a slow, controlled, diaphragmatic breath, though a few exercises use a rapid, staccato-like breath similar to kapalabhati breathing in yoga

Pilates is done mostly lying down, yoga is mostly standing.
•   Pilates aims to defy gravity the entire time, engaging the abdominal center in
    order to lift up from the ground to lengthen muscles.
•   prone (on the stomach)
•   supine (on the back)
•   side-lying
•   there is also a standing series, such as the sculpting series or exercises that
    integrate the magic circle prop.
•   Yoga works with gravity by rooting down into the earth in order to lengthen the body
    away from the floor.
•   an exception is arm balances and inversions where one tries to defy gravity
•   there are a number of poses done on the floor as well, such as seated forward
    bends, twists, bow pose, and plow

Pilates has the option to incorporate machines or “apparatus” to perform exercises, yoga does not.

Choose either or both to increase your breathing capacity, core strength and overall flexibility.

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