Due to its long history and its widespread adoption across the globe, yoga has evolved a great deal over the centuries. As a result, there are now many different forms of exercise-focused yoga practices available in the west. Examples include Hatha Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, and many more. Each focuses on a slightly different element of wellbeing, and the variety is proving immensely popular as people are seeking more personalised exercises that fit their needs.
Pilates is somewhat more fixed in its approach. The practice is based on a set of physical movements as developed by Joseph Pilates several decades ago. However, while it has undergone less radical evolution than yoga, even within a few decades Pilates has been adapted to make it more accessible to a greater number of people. Although the exercises are primarily based on specific principles of movement, the introduction of varying difficulty levels and the inclusion of equipment means that it can be adapted to suit many different abilities, and as with yoga, this means that a more personalised exercise experience is now available.
Pilates, however, was designed with the sole purpose of improving the mechanics of the human body. It was developed by a man called Joseph Pilates (hence the name) as a way to strengthen the body through very targeted and highly specific exercises.
Although they do differ in their history and development, it is also true that there are areas of overlap in their philosophies. Examples include the belief that the mind and body are connected, and that breathing is hugely important to the optimal functioning of the body.