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Yoga vs Pilates. Which is best?

February 5, 2024

As a physiotherapy student I didn’t know the difference between Yoga and Pilates. All I knew was that you needed a mat and they cured pains that months of physiotherapy and medication barely touched.


Almost every day, I have patients ask me which would be best for them to do to help prevent a re-occurrence of their injury. Like everything in the medical world it depends on the person and their injury, but there are some guidelines that I use with my patients.


Pilates is generally a mat based workout class that you spend most of your time performing specific small movements using either your arms, legs or as you progress both. These movements that isolate one or two joints allows the participant to focus on strengthening specific muscles which create the foundation for larger, whole body movements.

Pilates also allows the participant to be adjusted and maintain the corrected posture easier than yoga. The small movements allow for the minuet postural alterations to be felt by the participant and this allows for a growth in body awareness and correction in the long term. 


The name Yoga itself is a little confusing as it is an umbrella term for a range of disciplines. Think martial arts, it refers to a range of disciplines that have a common structure and movements but are also very unique. Different type of yoga can focus on whole body movements, stretching or relaxation.


In general I would recommend yoga to patients who are in need of a large amount of stretching exercises, or for higher level patients who have strong foundation muscles that will allow for correct posture maintenance while building in more functional whole body movements.


 So what do I recommend to patients in a nut shell?


If you need to do a lot of stretchingYoga


If you need to correct postural/muscle imbalances (included stretching and focused muscle strengthening)Pilates


For higher level patients who are looking for high level improvements with whole body movementsAdvance Pilates/Yoga


If you have any questions please call one of our physiotherapist on 01 441 0100 at our Dublin city centre clinic.