Yoga v Pilates?. How much do you really know about each one ? and what are the differences ? Aren’t they really the same ? just lots of bending and stretching, all done on a mat ? By the time you finish reading some of those questions will be answered for you.

So, you’ve taken a look at the Temple of Strength timetable, seen the number of Yoga and Pilates classes available in our Penge studio and now you are wondering whether you should try Yoga or Pilates?

How do you decide which one is for you?

And how do you choose, especially if you’ve never tried any classes before?

We’ve decided to break it down further in the guide below to help make that decision a bit easier for you.


One of the main differences between Yoga and Pilates is :

Yoga can be used for improving the flexibility of the body and it will also gradually increase the flexibility of your joints.

Pilates focuses on trying to relax muscles which are tense and provide strengthening of the numerous muscles of the body.

Another big difference between Pilates and Yoga is the ultimate end goal:

Yoga provides a meditative environment for you to improve your overall quality of life. It focuses on stress relief while improving your body.

Pilates works from the centre of your body outward. It forces you to increases your body awareness and work from your core, resulting in a stronger and leaner body.


The purpose of Yoga is to unite the mind, body and spirit. Teachers of Yoga see the mind and body as one whole structure and if the techniques are used in the proper environment, Yoga can be a way to heal the body and help to find mental harmony.

This is why Yoga is considered to be a more therapeutic activity. It gives your body more flexibility and promotes relaxation even in the most stressful of times. The latter is the reason most people begin taking Yoga classes – to reduce stress.

In Yoga, several movements are performed on an exercise mat and the weight of the body is used as a resistance for the exercise. This takes a great amount of focus and the flow in and out of each position is fluid. The movements are not what you would call workout moves; they are more like poses that are designed for different needs and purposes.

In short Yoga aims to not only improve your physical health, but your emotional and spiritual health as well. Through repetitive movement, the act of yoga can be extremely therapeutic. Many types of yoga involve meditation at some point during the exercise. The meditative portion of yoga tends to attract people who are seeking to unwind from stressful situations.

At our studio in Penge we offer many different types of yoga, ranging from Candlelit Yin Yoga, which is a great choice to help you chill out from a long day, to Ashtanga, which involves strength and flexibility.


Pilates works out the entire body in addition to the mind. The focus is on the core of the body so the rest can freely move and this makes your body stronger both on the inside and out. The balance is meant to be present between flexibility and strength and this results in stronger and leaner muscles.

Pilates is unique in that, unlike yoga and other activities, its origin is relatively recent. Pilates was created in 1920 by Joseph Pilates for physical rehabilitation. The idea behind Pilates is to gain flexibility, strength and body awareness without building bulk. It is considered a resistance exercise, even though, as a beginner, you may experience an increased heart rate.

The main goal of Pilates is to strengthen the stomach, improve posture, stabilize and elongate the spine and develop balance and overall strength.

There are six key principles of Pilates: concentration, control, centering, breathing, flow and precision.

When these key principles are used in conjunction with the mindset that you are creating a leaner, better you from your core muscles out, Pilates can provide that long, toned body you desire.



Yoga postures build endurance in every large muscle group but strength is not the main focus. A rule of thumb is that yoga is more about how you feel and Pilates about how you look. Try one of our Power Yoga classes at Temple of Strength if you are chasing those strength gains along with flexibility.

Unlike yoga, Pilates uses resistance and weights to build strength and places more emphasis on physical conditioning. It works all the muscle groups resulting in a leaner, stronger body. We have various different type of Pilates to suit all levels of strength.


Yoga is unsurpassed in enhancing flexibility and increasing range of joint motion. Our Candlelit Yin Yoga is probably the most effective at doing passive stretching for increased flexibility.

Pilates offers a different approach compared with yoga. Rather than stretching to improve flexibility, it focuses on why a certain muscle is tight and tries to solve the problem.


While yoga does work the abs and core muscles, this isn’t by any means a primary focus. Work in this area is much less demanding and painstaking in yoga.

Nothing forms and flattens a tummy like Pilates: it has a unique focus on core muscles in the trunk and pelvis, and is one of the best ways to build core strength. We have dedicated Core Pilates classes at our studio in Penge.

Mental wellbeing

Spiritual wellbeing is integral to yoga. The physical practice gives the body a feeling of balance and wellbeing, while breathing techniques enhance inner focus and relaxation.

Pilates is considered a mind-body exercise and so requires concentration, which can distract you from daily worries, but wellbeing isn’t such a focus as it is in yoga.

Back pain

Yoga improves spinal flexibility and strength. However, certain postures will be unsuitable – for example, deep forward bends should be avoided after a slipped disc.

With its focus on the core, Pilates is very good for supporting and strengthening the back. That’s why we have a dedicated back care Pilates class every Thursday.


Yoga and Pilates each have their merits. The best part is that you really don’t have to choose. Combine Pilates with Yoga for an amazing way to transform your daily routine. We hope this explains the differences of yoga v pilates, as you can see they really work together and if you still can not make up your mind try one as doing something is better then doing nothing when it comes to your health and fitness!