Skip to content

What’s better for you – yoga or Pilates?

In partnership with Kristy Curtis

We get the pros and cons of both so you can decide

Two brunette women wearing black sports bras and tights practising Pilates on a blue gym mat and laughing
Two brunette women wearing black sports bras and tights practising Pilates on a blue gym mat and laughing

If spending Saturday mornings gently stretching and strengthening is your jam, then chances are yoga and Pilates will appeal to you. Both are celebrated for their numerous health benefits – think: stress relief, development of flexibility and muscle strength – yet each is stronger in certain areas. 

“Pilates is particularly beneficial for strengthening the core muscles of the body,” explains personal trainer and health and wellness coach Kristy Curtis. “When it comes to yoga, however, the standout is the benefit it has for the mind.” 

Here, we look at the advantages of both practices to help you decide which best aligns with your personal health and wellness goals. 

The benefits of Pilates

Originally devised by Joseph Pilates, a German trainer, in the early 20th century as a form of physical therapy, Pilates trains your body as an integrated whole – which makes it great for anyone seeking a gentle approach to developing strength and flexibility. 

“Pilates focuses on the core, lower and upper body as well as flexibility and posture,” says Kristy. “It has a strong emphasis on improving posture and core strength, which is a great place to start for anybody beginning an exercise program.”

In fact, its gentle, foundation-building nature – and the wide range of progressions and regressions in its repertoire – make Pilates particularly beneficial to postnatal women or anyone recovering from injury.

Some of Pilates’ biggest physical benefits are:

  • Increased core-muscle strength

  • Increased mobility

  • Posture correction

  • Injury recovery

  • Prevention of falls (for older Australians)

  • Joint pain relief

And then there are mental benefits such as improved mood, increased relaxation levels and heightened sense of focus.

A dark haired woman in her late 30s practising yoga in her apartment wearing a khaki t-shirt

The benefits of yoga 

Similar to Pilates, the benefits of yoga include major physical wins – such as improved flexibility and mobility – with the more dynamic poses linked to significant improvements in strength and endurance. 

This ancient practice shares Pilates’ advantages in core-muscle strength, posture correction and joint pain relief, but because it combines physical movements with mindfulness and calm breathing techniques, yoga can increase calmness, reduce stress and improve sleep quality. 

In fact, yoga’s promotion of mindfulness and relaxation can even form part of the treatment of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety (chat to your GP about this). 

It can, however, be a risk to your health if you have any medical conditions,” stresses Kristy. “Particularly hot yoga or Bikram-style yoga.”

That’s why consulting a doctor prior to embarking on a new fitness routine is really important.

Finding what works best for you

When it comes to yoga versus Pilates, there’s no clear better-for-you winner, but keeping your health and fitness goals in mind can help you decide.

If you’re keen to target tight muscles or flexibility, yoga could be beneficial. And if strengthening and toning is your thing, Pilates might be your best bet. 

“Always do what you enjoy, as you are more likely to stick with it long term,” adds Kristy. “Variety is the spice of life – so add a mixture!” 

When it comes to mental health, if you or someone you know needs help, please call:

  • Lifeline13 11 14

  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

  • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

Please note: Before making any sudden changes to your health routine, it’s always best to run it by your GP. The tips throughout this article serve as broad information and should not replace any advice you have been given by your medical practitioner. 

Exercise Tips
Two girls with a bike and skateboard talking, leaning on a railing by the beach

How to maintain your fitness routine while travelling

Whether it’s for work or play, travel doesn't have to mean letting your health goals slide.

Read article 10 minute read
Exercise Tips
Two women in their 30s wearing grey exercise clothes and doing a barre class together

Common fitness myths debunked

We sort fact from fiction, with help from the expert

Read article 4 minute read
Exercise Tips
Woman in her 40s wearing a green shirt putting on her Muy Thai shin pads at the gym

10 facts about physical fitness you didn't know

We get the inside story on exercise myths

Read article 4 minute read
1 / 0
Kristy Curtis wearing a black sports bra at the gym and smiling at the camera

In partnership with

Kristy Curtis

Kristy Curtis is one of Australia and Asia’s leading wellness experts. She discovered her passion for fitness at a young age and has since transformed that passion into a career, with a successful personal training business and as a TV presenter. Kristy strongly believes while there are some things in life you can’t control, you can take ownership and responsibility of your health by eating good food, thinking positively and keeping your body moving. Every night before bed, Kristy completes a sudoku puzzle.