Pilates vs. Yoga: What’s the difference?

Yoga and Pilates are often used in the same breath – or clumped together as the same style of workout. However, take a couple classes at a local studio and you will immediately notice that there are a few key differences between these two great workouts.

The Similarities:

  • Both Pilates and Yoga share the focus of the “Mind/Body connection” (although yoga tends to infuse more spiritual focus as well).
  • Strength and Flexibility are benefits to both styles of exercise. Although different exercises are performed in Yoga and Pilates, both lead to improved strength and increased flexibility.

The Differences:

  • Equipment: In yoga, no machines and minimal equipment (if any) is used in a class whereas Pilates classes (depending on which class you choose)offer the use of machines and a variety of equipment. One of the more popular machines in Pilates, a reformer, allows for zero-impact resistance training that bridges the gap for those who enjoy weight training.
  • Movement and muscle toning as a focus in Pilates whereas in yoga, this doesn’t tend to be a specific focus.
  • Orgin: Yoga got its start thousands of years ago with roots from India; Pilates started in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates with the main focus initially was for strengthening and body rehabilitation. It has since gained popularity through dance world when Joseph Pilates moved to New York.
  • Breathing: The purpose of the breath serves different purposes in these different practices. In yoga, the breath helps one to relax and gain flexibility. In Pilates, the breath most often helps facilitate muscle movement.
  • Static vs. dynamic: Yoga poses (traditionally) are held for longer and tend to be more static whereas Pilates exercises tend to involve more movement.
  • Focus – Yoga tends to be centered more around the meditation (again generalizing) whereas Pilates focuses on the mind-body connection surrounding your ‘core.’ Both are amazingly beneficial to your life.


Both yoga and Pilates are wonderful additions to anyone’s workout regimen. Or a great place to start if you have not yet established a workout regimen. As one of the few Pilates studios in Grand Rapids, we welcome you into Pilates in East! See for yourself if you can identify these similarities and differences. We look forward to seeing you!


Marlayna and Katie


“In 10 sessions, you feel better, 20 sessions you look better, 30 sessions you have a completely new body.” ~ Joseph Pilates.



Spice Up Your Post-Workout Smoothie!

Here in West Michigan, summer is in full swing. Some locals are soaking in the heat – others are hunkering down in the AC and counting down the days until fall. Regardless of which category you fall under, nothing says summer like grilling, s’moores and of course, cool drinks/smoothies.

One of my personal favorite ways to refuel after a workout is to toss handfuls of fruit, vegetables and juices into a blender. Ahmé, studio director and Master Trainer at Pilates in East is also a fellow smoothie fanatic. She shared with me a great way to add a little extra healthy kick to my current smoothie recipes. Here is what Ahmé had to say about her smoothie additions:

“For several years I have loved making green smoothies especially in the summer months.  I almost always include a tablespoon of chia, flax or hemp seeds in my smoothie recipes for the nutritional value.  Recently I have come across a great product at Harvest Health “Superseed Blend” by Nutiva.  You can put a spoonful in your smoothie, on cereal, oatmeal or yogurt.  It tastes a bit sweet and nutty. It contains flax, chia, hempseed and coconut; 200 mg Omega-3; 3g fiber and 3b protein. It is vegan and organic.”

How’s that for giving your smoothie’s a little kick! After your next “Tone and Tighten” or Reformer class at Pilates in East, toss a spoonful of Superseed Blend into your blender with the rest of your favorite ingredients and enjoy!

Blog superseed

Ahmé, studio director and Master Trainer at Pilates in East