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Comparison of the week: Yoga vs Pilates

Fitness asian female group doing namaste yoga pose in row at the yoga class

Whether yoga or pilates is the better choice for you will depend on what you're trying to achieve as well as on your budget.

We compare virtually everything at Finder and our Comparison of the Week isn't afraid to tackle the big questions. This week we put yoga vs pilates to the test.

If your New Year's resolution (like mine) is to take up some form of exercise, but running, swimming laps or participating in team sports aren't your thing, you might want to consider yoga or Pilates. Both practices offer amazing physical and mental benefits, with a key focus on flexibility, stretching and strength. Unlike other high-intensity workouts like cardio, boot camp or boxing, yoga and Pilates are less intense and lower impact, but are still very effective in improving your muscle strength, tone and endurance.

If you're ready to get your Zen on but aren't exactly sure what the difference is between yoga and Pilates, this comparison will help you decide.

The comparison

Both yoga and Pilates are great choices if you want to work on your flexibility, posture, strength and muscle tone, but there are a few key differences between the two practices.

Age of the exerciseYoga has been around for 5,000+ yearsPilates has been around for just over 100 years
Key features
  • Focuses on holding poses and flowing through to new poses
  • Improves your flexibility and balance
  • Strong focus on stretching
  • Strong focus on mindfulness, positive thinking and meditation
  • Strong focus on stress relief and relaxation
  • Focuses on small, subtle movements
  • Improves your core strength and muscle control
  • Improves posture and stability
  • Combats back, neck and joint pain
  • Helps recover from, and prevent, injuries
Goal of the exerciseTo improve your overall quality of life, including both your physical and mental wellbeing.To improve your body's strength to prevent and cure injury, aches and pains.
EquipmentYoga is mostly done using just an exercise mat. Sometimes it will also incorporate balance blocks.Pilates often requires an exercise mat plus specialised equipment, including the following:

  • Pilates reformer bed
  • Pilates Cadillac
  • Pilates Chairs
Popularity2.18 million Australians did yoga in 20171.2 million Australians did Pilates in 2017
AvailabilityYou'll find yoga classes in dedicated yoga studios as well as offered as regular classes at a lot of gyms.You'll find Pilates classes at dedicated Pilates studios as well as offered by many physiotherapists as part of their ongoing treatment.
CostGenerally about $20-$30 for a classTypically about $30-$40 per class

The verdict

If you want to improve your balance, flexibility and muscle tone while also helping combat general stress and anxiety, yoga is a cheaper option with more available classes and studios (due to the growing popularly of the practice).

If you're looking for an exercise to help manage an injury or combat general back, muscle or joint pains such as arthritis while improving your strength, Pilates is the better choice for this. However because of the specialised equipment, a Pilates class is often more expensive.

If you're keen to give yoga or Pilates a go, check out our current Classpass deals to see how much you can save.

We compare virtually everything at Finder, and we're all about helping you make better decisions. Catch up with more of our weekly comparisons, or do your own by heading to the Finder home page to compare credit cards, savings accounts, shopping deals and much, much more. Go on, be a Finder.

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