Many people will group Mat Pilates and yoga in the same category, since they’re both (usually) done barefoot, on a Mat, in a studio, and have a general focus on lengthening and breathing. But, the similarities pretty much end there!
While yoga is more about flexibility and strength from the root upward (base of the feet to the sky) with a focus of unionizing body, mind, and soul, Pilates focuses predominantly on anatomical and physical function, with all exercises radiating from the core, in an effort to unify the breath with the body to optimize length, strength, and function. A lot of people who don’t love the “woo-woo” or “spiritual” aspects of a yoga class will prefer Pilates since Pilates is purely functional and instructional – traditional Pilates classes won’t even play music. The focus on form and function in a Pilates class is a way into mind/body/spirit for many students.