Whats the difference between Yoga and Pilates?

One of the questions I get asked a lot – What is the difference between Yoga and Pilates?.  After all a lot of the moves are very similar and I find the two compliment each other well.  Both can help improve flexibility , build strength and help with mental  health, and lower stress levels.  Below are my takes on the differences between the two .

Yoga means the Union of the mind, body and spirit and originated in India , thousands of years ago.   Yoga helps us build strength and improve flexibility too, and also has a strong emphasis on our Spiritual wellbeing also.


I love the quote “Yoga is not about touching your toes, its about what you learn on the way down “. For me Yoga is about my own journey on my mat. Of course its fun being able to do some of those impressive Yoga poses – It was a proud day when I managed Crow pose for the very first time and if I’m honest any other time I am able to do it ! , though the Headstand still alludes me. I can hand stand against a wall though and take my legs off the  wall for 5 seconds haha , but its not about that, its about what we learn about our bodies as we try a pose , .there are days some poses will come more easily than other days and that’s ok. Its being aware of your body and how it moves day to day,  Stepping on my mat is about me  stepping away from the busy chaos of my everyday life and heading to my  mat  to help  find some calm, as I just focus on moving through the poses  , and  being present in that moment and not thinking about my ever growing to do list or feeling anxious about the worries and stresses of life

Pilates was originally known as Contrology , when Joseph Pilates first brought the concept to New York in the 1920’s , where he had his own studio . It was only after his death in 1967,  the name was changed to Pilates by his wife Clara. 

Joseph Pilates  was born in Germany in 1880 and was poorly as a child, suffering with rickets, asthma and Rheumatic fever.   As he grew up, he wanted to develop a health regime to make him stronger and healthier and tried various activities such as Yoga, gymnastics, skiing, boxing and karate, along with meditation.  

In 1912 he travelled to England , working as a boxer, Circus performer and Self defence instructor. However during World War 1, as a German living in England, he was interned as an enemy alien. During his time locked up, he worked on a training regime, which he would share with his camp mates and he also created programmes to help injured soldiers with rehabilitation exercises. 

After the war is over , he returned back to Germany, and through his friend Rudolph Laban was introduced to Dance. 

In 1926 , However he set off for America – New York, where he meets his future wife, Clara. Joseph opens a Studio in New York and primarily works with dancers to help keep them strong , reducing their risk of injury and if they did get injured , help them recover. 

Joseph Pilates trained dancers and apprentices in his Pilates method , and they would then go on to open their own studios. 

For Joseph Pilates , Pilates was the complete coordination of mind and Body. The main focus of  Pilates is about building core strength. The Core is seen as the Powerhouse of the body.  Pilates  moves can also help all those smaller muscles get stronger to help better support the bigger muscles in the body, lowering your risk of injury and is often used by athletes especially runners because it .  Having a strong Core, strengthens the Spine, reduces lower back pain  and bringing better alignment to the body and improving posture.it also helps keep the pelvis in alignment  Pilates helps build a long lean body. There is also a  focus on taking  deep, full breaths .This allows the muscles to be supplied with energizing oxygen and the old stale air to leave the body on each exhale. 

Pilates is often used in rehabilitation of those with injuries, health conditions and orthopaedic conditions , just like Joseph Pilates did all those years ago with the injured soldiers during WW1. I have clients with a wide range of health conditions  , some of whom I work with 1-1 as we can tailor the session specifically for them.  Even if you are generally fit and well though, including a Pilates/Yoga workout in your programme amongst those Higher impact workouts  is highly beneficial, it will stretch out tired muscles and help keep them strong, lower your risk of injury and bring balance to the mind and body . Modern living means we are a generation with poor posture from spending days hunched over computers, laptops, mobile phones etc, which means we are also all constantly “switched on” so stepping on to that mat will help you find a little oasis of calm. 

Both Yoga and Pilates are also brilliant for pre/post natal women. 

For me personally , I love the benefits of combining elements of both Yoga and Pilates  into my own practice and that of the classes I teach, and the majority of my Pilates classes will finish with a Savasana  / snooze  just like in Yoga . For some though this actually the hardest part of the class – relaxing!.  Those are the often the ones that need it the most! . 


What about you guys?, do you have a preference?


Joanne ūüíē

My Aeriel Yoga Adventure!




Every now and then, its good to step outside your comfort zone, no matter how scary it might be. I’ve often found its actually where all the best things happen. 

As an instructor, I get new people along to classes on a regular basis, so it is good to every so often try something new yourself, so you are reminded what its like to be a beginner and experience something for the first time.

I’ve been wanting to try Aeriel Yoga for ages, it just looked so much fun. I came across Tempest Dance studio in Durham City – http://tempestdancestudio.com/2016/  who offered classes. I followed them on Instagram @tempeststudio and the classes . Aeriel Yoga is Yoga moves performed using silk hammocks suspended from the ceiling. 

Looking at the class schedule, I could see it clashed a lot with my own timetable of classes and so I opted to book a 1 -1 session instead.   I arrived at the studio on a rainy Wednesday morning and met my instructor Rachel, who was so lovely and put me right at ease. 

She strung the Silks from the ceiling and we were ready to rock and roll. We started off with a warm up and Rachel advised me just to let go and trust in the silks ability to support me. One of the first moves was straddling the Silk and then getting my far leg back out, – hmmm I had forgot to warn poor Rachel, I can be a terrible klutz and so  as I stepped out , there was a cartoon comedy moment of me doing some crazy foot jumping as I tried to regain balance and an almost collision with a mirror but thankfully crisis was averted and I managed to steady myself just in time – phew!.  

Rachel took me through a series of Yoga moves – most of which were familiar to me on the floor , however adding in the Silks, created a whole new aspect and made my body work even harder. Up dog with the silks , really stretched the lower back and took a lot of upper body strength to hold on to the silks!.   my favourite part came when I was fully warmed up and we started on the inversions!.   Yoga inversions are any moves that bring your hips over your heart, and your heart above your head – basically you are pretty much upside down!.  This actually helps give your heart a little rest, as you reverse the blood flow in the body and encourages venous return – the return of blood back to the heart. As a result your heart does not have to work quite so hard.  Being upside down also takes some bravery and a lot of faith.   Rachel was there every step and when she could see I was hovering on the edge of can I really do this??? ,she walked me through it step by step.  I could feel myself hanging on to the silks for dear life at first , but she encouraged me to just let go and before I knew it, I felt like I was flying!.  Its a great metaphor for life –  Sometimes we hang on to what we feel is safe and comfortable , but often taking that step beyond the comfort zone is usually where the magic happens!, so next time you find yourself hovering , feeling a little scared at taking the leap – close your eyes, breathe in and as you breathe out, take that leap of faith!. 


We ended the class in Savasana pose, actually getting fully inside the silk – ok so my friend Emma did point out afterward it did look a lot like I had been kidnapped and held hostage, but honestly it was sooooooo comfortable and relaxing.  It was raining outside and the sound of the rain on the window combined with the relaxing music , Rachel had playing plus feeling all snug in my silk cocoon suspended from the ceiling , I could feel myself just drifting off into a relaxed state – it just felt so peaceful. 

I would definitely recommend giving it a whirl. Next on the list , My friend Joanne and I are already planning a Pole dancing lesson.


Have you guys tried anything new lately?. 





Countdown to Christmas!


Can you believe it’s the 1st December???? ¬†24 sleeps until Santa . Seriously where on earth has 2016 gone?. It really has flown over!.

The festive season has already kicked off here at Mis-Fit HQ, it was our Christmas party last Friday night. , The Mis-fits all swapped their workout clothes and trainers to get our glam on , dance shoes were  polished up to dance our way into the party season.  We had a brilliant night . I love seeing everyone come together and  having a good time.

Then on Monday it was the turn of my little Yogis to get into the festive spirit , We had a special festive yoga class, and Santa sent one of his elves along to join us!. Its a very hectic time for Elves and the pressure is on, so Santa though a spot of Yoga for Chocolate the Elf would be just the tonic.   Chocolate came into class as we were warming up, you should have seen the kids faces! I think they were a bit speechless at first, but they all welcomed Chocolate . The kids were loving it, and I think Chocolate did too :-).



so many fun things planned over the next few weeks , I’ll be ¬†keeping you all updated on all the goings on here at Mis-Fit HQ. ¬† I’d love to hear about your fun festive adventures too , so come follow me on Instagram @littlemisfitjojo ¬† using the #misfitfestivefun or come visit us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/lilmisfit1 plus we’ll be doing a little vlogging including some workouts over on YouTube channel little mis-fit.

Happy Holidays!



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