What is Yoga and Pilates?

What is the common thread that brings Yoga and Pilates together. The basic principle is the exercises that unites Yoga and Pilates to coin the phrase Yogalates. As you may be aware my website is predominantly yoga based.

This article will be geared towards the Pilates and it’s connection with Yoga. Let’s start with who is the person behind Pilates.

Joseph Pilates:

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880.

In 1912, he moved to England and earned a living as a boxer, a circus performer and a self-defense trainer.

During World Was I he was sent to a camp in Lancaster where he trained other inmates in fitness and exercises and this is where the beginning of the Pilates method stemmed from.

It was about 1925 when Joseph Pilates migrated to the U.S.

On the ship he came over on, he met his future wife, Clara.

In New York City, they began a studio and taught and supervised students all the way until the 1960’s.

Pilates method of exercise used the mind to control the muscles of the body.

It focuses on the core muscles of the abdomen to help keep the body balanced.

A balanced body provides support for the spine.

Pilates also teaches awareness of breathing and alignment of the spine to strengthen the torso muscles.

Strong core muscles can help to relieve back and neck pain.

When Joseph Pilates was a child, he was sickly, suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever.

It was after this that he began to dedicate his life to better health and becoming physically stronger.

By the age of 14, he was fit enough to post for anatomical charts mostly due to his practicing of gymnastics and bodybuilding.

Joseph believed the root of poor health came from poor breathing practices and bad posture.

His practice of Pilates is undoubtedly the most popular form of exercise today.

What Is Pilates?

Pilates is a body conditioning method that seeks to build strength, coordination, flexibility and endurance without adding any muscle bulk.

Pilates also helps increase the circulation which gets the blood flowing to every cell of your body.

It also helps to sculpt the body as well as strengthen the body’s -powerhouse- or -core-.

People who faithfully do Pilates feel that they are less prone to injury, have better posture and experience better overall health.

Pilates also developed a series of exercises that used a mat which focused on the torso.

These exercises were based upon different exercise methods from all over the world including the mind-body formats of Chinese martial arts and yoga.

Joseph Pilates believed that our mental and physical health are all intertwined.

His exercise program was designed around principles that support his philosophy.

These include concentration, control, flowing movements, precision and breathing.

There are two basic ways to exercise doing Pilates.

You can either focus on mat exercises or you can use a variety of machines to strengthen and tone the body using the principle of resistance.


Pilates Basics:

Pilates can prove to be of great help if all the necessary rules related to Pilates exercises is followed properly.

Pillates is a regimen of exercise that can be equally beneficial and enjoyable.

Pilates is the contemporary part of the older Yoga movements.

The number of Pilates exercises can be as many as five hundred exercises that can be performed by using only five chief instruments.

Each pose of yoga has great significance similar to its Pilates equivalent.

The important pilaates basics that one must master are movement to and fro from center and revolving around center.

Maintaining good health and proper well-being is the chief point of proper and regular practice of yogalates.

Regular action will definitely leave a deep, positive impact in your physical as well as mental life.

After days of continuous practice you will find that your bodies flexibility is enhanced.

The stretching that is involved in pilates helps in lessening the threat of injuries.

One of the biggest benefits of pilates exercises is that your bodies balance is improved.

With the passage of time, your body aches will reduce to a great extent as well.

With regular exercise, the muscles are strengthened, resulting in the stimulation of your endurance, stamina and your energy level.

One great thing that you will experience as a result of yogalates is that you will find that your body and mind is much more relaxed compared to how you felt before.

Yogalates involves certain breathing patterns that help a person to calm down and relax, resulting in sounder sleep.

Now days yogalates are often prescribed by specialists like osteopaths, physical therapists, chiropractors and many holistic practitioners as a principal, practical taming process.

The viewpoints of Pilates teachers and Yoga instructors are somewhat the same on the workings of the exercise.

Many consider Pilates to be yoga on the machines while others see it as neuro muscular education or strength conditioning.

Basically Yoga and Pilates are reciprocally supportive:

Yoga gives Pilates litheness and mobility while Pilates offers constancy and mobility in the movement.

When united with Yoga, Pilates doctrine augments the practice by bringing central stabilization into light as well as training and substance for yoga postures (particularly in the strength to seize).

Since Pilates is more about length and potency, Yoga helps to amplify the litheness capability.

Many people whose job demands sitting at a desk or driving almost 8 hours a day, gain a lot from Pilates Yoga.

With easy ideas of figure and postural doctrines, it will support the backbone and unlock the oomph channels.

It edifies consciousness and centering, suppleness and mobility.

It is a coordination of associated exercises that are also helpful separately.

Dancers and professional athletes practice the Pilate form of exercise.

This helps them to achieve flexibility of body and gain strength.

Recently this form of exercise has become very popular among celebrities and models for keeping fit.

There is no harm in practicing yoga Pilates.

In fact, it is considered to be safe even when practiced during special conditions like pregnancy.

Pilates machines

Forms of Pilates:

Generally there are two forms of Pilates exercises.

There are mat-based exercises and equipment-bases Pilates exercises.

In Pilates, quality of exercises is key.

Exercises should be performed through a slow sustained series of movements using abdominal control and proper breathing.

There are many books and videos available to the consumer but it is important to seek instruction from a qualified Pilates teacher to get the best results.

Mat-based Pilates exercises are generally the most popular form of Pilates.

This is a series of exercises that are performed on the floor using gravity and your bodies own weight to provide resistance.

The general aim of mat-based Pilates is to condition the deeper supporting muscles of the body and to improve the posture, balance and coordination.

Equipment-based Pilates is for the more serious Pilates practitioner.

This form of Pilates includes specific equipment and some forms of equipment based

Pilates also include free weights such as dumbbells, which offer resistance to the muscles.

But equipment can be costly and if not properly used could actually hinder the body in muscle building and toning.

It is important that equipment is used properly, therefore most people who practice equipment-based Pilates do so under a proper Pilates trainer.

Though Pilates is very low-impact, it is important to understand the general precautions before beginning a Pilates regimen.

Certain people should seek medical advice before embarking on a new program. Women who are pregnant should certainly ask a doctor before doing any form of Pilates.

Also, people over 40, people with pre-existing medical conditions, musculoskeletal injuries or those who are overweight or obese.

Side plank

Drawbacks To Pilates:

Instruction in the Pilates method can be quite costly.

These costs are justified by instructors due to their expensive education, the cost of equipment and also the cost of studio rentals.

Sometimes a person new to Pilates will be given individual supervision until the instructor believes that the trainee has developed enough knowledge to continue his or her training in a group or a class.

Here is another less obvious drawback to consider.

While Pilates can serve to tone the transverse abdominal and rectus muscles, when it is performed to often or wrongly, it can cause an over-development in the internal and external oblique muscles of the abdomen.

This usually results in a flat stomach but sometimes a wider waist.

This is because a lot of the Pilates exercises are practiced through flexion while the torso moves in a linear, forward fashion.

Exercising during pregnancy has been found to be important for preventing musculoskeletal problems and for maintaining muscle strength.

When Pilates is used in pregnancy, it has been found to have many benefits both physically and mentally.

However, many exercises during pregnancy are contraindicated.

The use of Pilates when a woman is pregnant should first meet with the approval of her doctor.

Then it should only be used if one is being guided by a qualified expert.

Legal action

In recent years, the term -Pilates- came under fire and resulted in a lawsuit.

However, the U.S. federal court ruled that this term was generic and was free for unrestricted use.

This has caused confusion among consumers because many people do not know what Pilates really is and what credentials they should look for in an instructor.


In my opinion the biggest difference is the 5000 years of spiritual development that has evolved.

So maybe you are more interested in the exercise side of Yoga.

Then Pilates is an option worth considering.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this post or this site in general.

I will answer all the comments on my website personally so drop me a line below if you have any Yoga questions or comments.

I’m happy to help any way that I can.


Namaste Shane.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietitian before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.


2 thoughts on “What is Yoga and Pilates?”

  1. Hello Shane, it’s. Avery wonderft opportunity to read your post about pilates and to be able to understand all about it. Really I didn’t know it was called pilates because I have seen that particular posture in a number on places and it is regarded to as plank. Now I see the history and also it’s origin. I have learnt how the exercise has anything to do with yoga by conditioning the body.

    • Hello Payton, 

      Thank you for reading my post. 

      Happy to see you were able to get some new information from it. 

      Namaste Shane.


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