Yoga Or Pilates In The UAE – The Main Differences

They might look similar but Yoga & Pilates are different. Find out how and which one might be right for you. UAE Personal Trainers advice.
Pilates or Yoga in the UAE - What is the difference

Yoga or Pilates in the UAE. What are the differences and which is right for you?

Pilates are Yoga are gaining in popularity in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE thanks to a better understanding of how they can both help with fitness in general and also mental well-being.

Much of the time people think that these two exercises methods are similar or even the same but there are many differences between Yoga and Pilates.

In this article you’ll find some great information about what those differences are, as well as an introduction to each.

Table Of Contents

In the UAE, many people are looking at alternative exercise methods. Going to the gym or working out with a personal trainer on a regular basis is a good idea for your health and fitness of course but pumping iron or slogging it out on a treadmill isn’t for everyone.

Yoga and Pilates have become an extremely popular way of working out for those who want to increase their flexibility, their strength and even lose some pounds in the process. Yoga and Pilates are of course popular because they both can be done at home, in a group class environment or even an outdoors location – at the beach, the park or even a tranquil lake.

There is some confusion though because many people think that Yoga and Pilates are pretty much one in the same thing but the opposite is true. While both do place emphasis on breathing techniques and both are usually practised on a mat with low-impact movements they differ very much in their histories and workout methods.

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is a well-known stress buster and is used frequently for relaxation. Once you understand Yoga though you will realise it’s so much more than just a tool to work out and get into great shape. Yoga is a philosophy, a passionate pass time and for many a way of life which adds so much improvement to their every day living.

Once you try Yoga and understand the philosophy behind it you’ll get hooked and incorporate it into your daily living and healthy lifestyle.

There are many forms of Yoga to try but people usually start with Hatha Yoga in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah.

Yoga involves a series of postures or ‘asanas’ that can be done on their own or in sequence. There are numerous asanas, some much more difficult than others which take time and practice to perfect. However, there are plenty of asanas suit for beginners too – your yoga personal trainer in the UAE will be able to provide you with a program designed to suit your yoga level.

Each asana works on a particular part of the body, not just the muscle but other parts too.

Yoga can also provide many benefits for your mental health and well-being too. A large number of studies like the one found here have proven that Yoga has positive benefits when it comes to depression and stress related issues.


Who is yoga suitable for:

The beauty of Yoga is that it is suitable for all ages and all abilities. Yoga can literally be performed by anyone and you don’t need to be super flexible or stick thin to start.

Yoga personal trainers and teachers in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah have the experience to customise your program based on your weight, your flexibility and even your age.

Talking of age, Yoga is great for seniors too because it can help them remain supple, flexible and mobile. There are yoga teachers who are still teaching students the benefits of yoga well into their 80’s.


What are the key health and fitness benefits of yoga:

Practising yoga everyday is great for the body and mind. Some of the main benefits of Yoga include:

  • Flexibility

  • Mobility

  • Body Toning

  • Relaxation

  • Gentle Form Of Exercise

  • Reduces Depression

  • Reduces Stress

  • Can Help Reduce Blood Pressure

  • Will Build Strength

  • Helps You Sleep Better

Yoga Coaches In Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Sharjah

Female at home personal trainer in Dubai Amanda Warlo
Amanda can provide tailor made training for men and women in Dubai. Either at home or other locations. She specialises in creating a balanced lifestyle, rehabilitation, injury management, health improvement, pre and post natal training and more.
PT Location:Dubai
PT Experience: Weight & Fat Loss, Body Shaping, Increased Strength, Pre & Post Natal, Yoga Coaching.....
I Can Train: Men & Women
Dubai and Sharjah Yoga Coach - Vipin
Yogi Vipin is a highly qualified Yoga coach providing services to clients in Dubai and Sharjah. As well as Yoga for wellbeing he also provides specialist Yoga programs for back care.
PT Location:Sharjah, Dubai
PT Experience: Yoga For Fitness, Yoga For Stress Relief, Stretching & Flexibility, Restorative Yoga.....
I Can Train: Men, Women & Children
dubai yoga coach - Maria Ofitserova
Yoga training in Dubai for all ages and abilities including rehabilitation yoga, yoga for flexibility and yoga for pregnancy. At home coaching for all levels of fitness.
PT Location:Dubai
PT Experience: Yoga For Fitness, Calisthenics, Yoga For Stress Relief, Stretching & Flexibility, Pre Natal Yoga, Yoga For Rehabilitation.....
I Can Train: Men, Women & Children
Female Personal Trainer & Yoga Coach In Ras Al Khaimah - Rafaa A
Whether you want to lose weight, tone up take prenatal exercise or learn Yoga for health and wellness reasons Rafaa can help. Online and face to face coaching programs for ladies with all levels of fitness - at home in Umm Al Quwain.
PT Location:Umm Al Quwain
PT Experience: Yoga, Weight Management, Cardio Fitness, Fat Loss, Prenatal, Postnatal, Muscle Gain.....
I Can Train: Women, Men & Families
Zumba - Pilates - Weight Loss - Personal Trainer in Abu Dhabi - Mila
Mila is a qualified fitness coach and Yoga instructor who can provide training programs for ladies in Abu Dhabi at home or online. She can help you lose weight and tone your body with Zumba, Pilates, HIIT and programs for pre and post natal ladies.
PT Location:Abu Dhabi
PT Experience: Body Toning, Weight & Fat Loss, Yoga, Ladies Fitness, Pre Natal Exercise, Zumba, Pilates, Strength, Yoga, Running & Track.....
I Can Train: Women & Children
Alessandra - Personal Trainer for ladies in Abu Dhabi
Alessandra is a professional female fitness coach in Abu Dhabi who can provide specialist coaching services to ladies of all ages and fitness levels. Pilates, weight training, specialist menopausal programs, posture correction and more.
PT Location:Abu Dhabi
PT Experience: Female Specific Fitness, Weight Loss & Weight Management, Posture Correction, Pilates, Yoga, Strength Training, Core Fitness.....
I Can Train: Men, Women & Children

What Is Pilates?


On the other hand, Pilates is similar to Yoga in that it uses poses but the main focus of Pilates is to strengthen the core which in turn greatly improves your posture.

Like Yoga, Pilates is a form of low impact exercise that will help strengthen and tone the muscles while improving overall posture.

Bad posture is a big problem for many people in the UAE. Many men and women are seated for long period of the day which can lead to badly aligned posture which increases with age.

Pilates practice aims to reverse and correct this problem with a range of poses that help to stretch muscles. Most Pilates routines have core exercises as their central theme and Pilates has no connection to the spiritual side of exercise like Yoga does.

Pilates itself doesn’t require any equipment apart from a mat but there is also something called the Pilates Reformer.

Pilates Reformer is done using a reformer machine which pretty much looks like a bed with pulleys and springs. Reformer Pilates is generally superior than mat Pilates because of the more intense exercises that can be done.


Who is Pilates suitable for?

Generally, like Yoga, Pilates is suitable for all ages and abilities. Pilates can really help if you want to increase your core strength and stability or if you suffer from poor posture and posture related problems like neck, back and shoulder pain.

For seniors in the UAE doing Pilates regularly can help seniors to keep mobile and flexible with age.


What are the main benefits of doing Pilates?

  • Improved flexibility

  • Increased muscle strength and tone

  • Improved balance

  • improved stabilisation of your spine

  • Improved posture

  • Can help with injury prevention

  • Improves coordination

  • Relaxes the back and neck

  • Great for rehabilitation after injury or illness

  • Breathing exercises help increase lung capacity

Pilates Trainers In Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Sharjah

Dubai Female Pilates Coach - Holly
Holly is a professional Pilates coach for ladies in Dubai. Pilates for toning, Pilates Reformer, posture correction, prenatal, postnatal and Diastasis Recti Correction. Available for all abilities and ages.
PT Location:Dubai
PT Experience: Pilates, Flexibility, Mobility, Posture Correction, Diastasis Recti Correction, Pilates Reformer, Prenatal, Postnatal, Stretching.....
I Can Train: Women Only
Liliia - female fitness personal trainer and martial arts coach in Abu Dhabi UAE
Advanced coaching in Abu Dhabi for weight management and improved fitness using varied training techniques - martial arts, cardio programs, muscle building and more. Diet and nutrition support.
PT Location:Abu Dhabi
PT Experience: Weight management, cardio fitness, pre and post natal, core strength, martial arts, nutrition.....
I Can Train: Men, Women & Children
Alessandra - Personal Trainer for ladies in Abu Dhabi
Alessandra is a professional female fitness coach in Abu Dhabi who can provide specialist coaching services to ladies of all ages and fitness levels. Pilates, weight training, specialist menopausal programs, posture correction and more.
PT Location:Abu Dhabi
PT Experience: Female Specific Fitness, Weight Loss & Weight Management, Posture Correction, Pilates, Yoga, Strength Training, Core Fitness.....
I Can Train: Men, Women & Children
Muscle building and strength coaching in Abu Dhabi with Kayla
Personal training, fitness coaching and Pilates coaching in Abu Dhabi with professional female fitness coach Kayla. At home and gym training to suit your time and schedule. Training for all levels of fitness and goals. Weight management, Pilates reformer, boxing for fitness and more.
PT Location:Abu Dhabi
PT Experience: Boxing, Bodybuilding, Prenatal, Crossfit, Bootcamp, Ladies Fitness, Fat Loss, Body Toning, Rehabilitation, Endurance Training.....
I Can Train: Men, Women & Children
Aileen Graham - Personal Trainer In Abu Dhabi
With more than 10 years experience, Abu Dhabi PT Aileen is an expert in weight loss and strength building programs for ladies. Customised fitness packages that can also include Yoga and Pilates workouts for total body conditioning. At home and online programs are available.
PT Location:Abu Dhabi
PT Experience: Yoga, Weight Loss, Diet & Lifestyle Coaching, Strength Building, Pilates, Body Transformation.....
I Can Train: Women
Dubai Female Personal Trainer - Katrina
As a fully qualified and reps registered PT in Dubai Katerina can help with all aspects of health and fitness including body transformation, pilates, yoga and holistic health. Children and and specialist senior fitness programs.
PT Location:Dubai
PT Experience: Muscle Gain, Flexibility, Weight Loss, Posture, Pilates, Yoga, Pre & Post Natal, Rehabilitation, Cardio Workouts.....
I Can Train: Men & Women

A deeper looks at the differences between Yoga & Pilates


Now we’ve cleared up the basic differences between Yoga and Pilates let’s take a deeper look at how the two exercise methods differ:



Yoga is inextricably linked to spirituality – it forms part of the foundation of Yoga but you don’t need to be ‘into’ the spiritual side to enjoy Yoga. The historical aspect of Yoga is based on spirituality. In it’s earliest form Yoga was a simple cross-legged pose which was used as a way to mediate. Nowadays there are an innumerable number of Yoga poses (standing, seated etc) which you can try and which focus on different parts of the body.

On the other hand, Pilates does have some stress relief benefits but Pilates has no spiritual connections.

The Workouts:

Yoga has so many different and diverse poses that can provide an entire workout for your body. Poses can often flow and when selected in the right order can complement each other from one muscle group to another. Many Yoga teachers will select a range of flowing poses to ensure your Yoga class in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah provides a well-rounded workout for your body and mind – these can be backbends, twists, arm balances, standing balances and so much more.

Pilates routines are different. Pilates exercises are based on movements from the core. Exercises are usually small movements which are repeated as sets. Correct posture alignment forms a major part of a Pilates routine where you are taught to have control over your movements.



Correct breathing techniques form a major part of a Yoga workout. In Sanskrit, these breathing techniques (or even exercises) are referred to as Pranayama. In Yoga, your breath is thought of as a source of energy and life which channels through the body. Working on your breathing technique also helps with Yoga poses. In a Yoga class in the UAE, you might be working on the breathing technique as a whole or it might form part of the entire class and combined with the different Yoga asanas.

By contrast, in Pilates students are encouraged to be aware of their breathing technique throughout the entire session – inhaling through the nose and out through the mouth. In Yoga, there are a variety of breathing techniques but this is not the case in Pilates – in Pilates breathing is consistent throughout your Pilates movements.


Yoga is an ancient form of exercise which is believed to have originated in South East Asia. It has spread globally into many different forms – Hatha, Ashtanga, Flow, Kundalini, Bikram and even ‘Hot Yoga’ Part of its popularity today is its easy access and it’s suitability for all ages from kids in the UAE to the elderly.

Named after its creator, Pilates is the new kid on the block compared to Yoga. Joseph Pilates suffered as a child from several conditions that limited his mobility. He developed the Pilates techniques as a method of rehabilitation and core strengthening.

During its early years, Pilates gained a following from the fields of athletics, sports and even dance. Like Yoga, a professional pilates coach in the UAE can adapt a Pilates routine to suit your fitness level, your level of mobility and your age.

In Summary.....

Both Yoga & Pilates provide a low impact form of exercise which is suitable for all ages and abilities. You can even find some trainers in the UAE who have experience in teaching clients both methods. Try each one and see which fits your needs better. 

Find A Pilates Trainer Or A Yoga Coach In Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Sharjah

The UAE Personal Trainers website makes the entire process of hiring a freelance fitness coach in your local area so much easier and quicker. Click the links below to find local personal trainers in your area. 

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