The Great Debate: Yoga or Pilates for Weight Loss?




What a dilemma. Yoga or Pilates?

They’re both easy on your joints, perfect for folks who are normally sedentary. They both provide a good stretch.

With Pilates, Barre, yoga, PiYo and all kinds of other similar classes, it’s no wonder you have a hard time choosing which is best for your weight loss goals!

So what’s the difference between Pilates and yoga and which one is better for dropping pounds, toning, and strengthening?

Well, that’s the thing.

The answer is both. Which is why I chose to teach a Yoga and Pilates Fusion class on myYogaTeacher! My intermediate-level class is the perfect mix of yoga and Pilates for weight loss.

But let’s talk about these two practices and how they differ!

Benefits of Pilates

Originally called “Contrology,” Pilates is a form of exercise created in the 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Mostly, it was used as rehabilitation of wounded soldiers at the end of World War I and beyond.

Pilates consists of a group or sequence of repeated anaerobic exercises performed on a mat or other equipment.

Despite what you may have heard, Pilates isn’t just for the serious athlete or professional dancer (or the injured soldier)! It is for everyone.

Pilates promotes:

  • Improved core strength.
  • Better posture and balance.
  • Increased flexibility.
  • Relief of back pain.
  • Injury prevention.

Sound familiar? Of course, it does!

That’s because yoga also has these benefits.

The differences between yoga and Pilates are literally small but create a big impact. Pilates focuses on small, controlled movements that build muscle and help create stability in the body. Almost all the movements are designed to engage the core and back muscles.

Where yoga focuses on using the breath to release and relax, in Pilates, you’ll use your breath to initiate a muscle contraction.

Evidence shows that a regular Pilates practice is beneficial for people suffering from arthritis, urinary incontinence, joint injuries, back pain, and even respiratory issues.

Not only that, but Pilates works with yoga to help you lose weight and be healthier!

Pilates Class

How yoga compares to Pilates

A regular yoga practice is often used to help achieve weight loss. Yoga is a much, much older form of exercise than Pilates but still has many similarities to the newer form of movement.

For instance:

  • Yoga and Pilates both require little or no equipment and can be done in fairly small spaces.
  • They both emphasize belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, and how to use it properly when exercising.
  • Both forms of exercise can be easily tailored to varying fitness levels.
  • They both help reduce stress and anxiety.

It makes sense that myYogaTeacher would have a class that fuses yoga and Pilates together, right?!

One big difference between Pilates and yoga, though, is that yoga is considered a form of meditation. Yes, it’s exercise. Trust me, when you’re flowing quickly through asanas, you’ll feel the sweat trickling!

But it’s also about clearing your mind and making space for inner awareness, mental clarity, and better focus. It’s about bringing harmony to your inner and outer world.

Yoga is dynamic where Pilates is controlled.

Yin and yang. They complement each other.

Pilates Pose for Weight Loss

So Yoga or Pilates for weight loss?

We say both!

Vinyasa yoga is definitely going to burn more calories than Pilates. But Pilates is going to help you build muscle and tone in a more controlled way.

Hatha yoga, the most common form of yoga you’re probably familiar with, will give you a dynamic workout to help improve flexibility, while Pilates will help you strengthen your core and back muscles so you can do those challenging asanas better and safely.

Yoga will help your body release lymph from your muscles and organs so it can be cleansed in the lymphatic system. The muscle contractions from Pilates will help pump the lymph to all the right places. Both forms of exercise help with immunity and lymphatic system cleansing.

They both help you release stress and anxiety, which will promote better eating habits. And they both are very safe forms of exercise, even for people with injuries!

To me, there is no debate!

Pilates and yoga work together to help you achieve your weight loss goals!

You can see for yourself! Click here to get your free trial today! You’ll have the ability to try out any of the 35+ daily live classes offered there. Including mine!

Yoga and Pilates Fusion combines the best of both forms of meditative exercise in a way that promotes weight loss, immune health, flexibility, and toning. You can learn more about my class when you click the link. You’ll burn some calories in this dynamic, flowing class! I promise!

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