Difference between Pilates mat and yoga mat

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This article has been reviewed by certified personal trainer Ronaldo Brito scientifically and practically.

Pilates mat and yoga mat are alike in many ways. Since Pilates uses more floor work comparing yoga, so Pilates mats are thicker (about half an inch) and denser to offer more support while you move through the workout. But the best part is yet to come!

You’re the ones who believe that different types of physical activities use the same mat, right? If so, we must burst your bubble. Wow! Not all mats are the same. Different floor exercises require different mats. Pilates on a yoga mat doesn’t make a distinct difference at all?! No way! Both mats have different densities and thicknesses.

A woman gets ready to exercise on yoga mat

If you choose the wrong workout mat, your health may be negatively affected instead of being improved

As important as exercising itself is the right equipment, the right mat in this case. If you choose the wrong workout mat, your health may be negatively affected instead of being improved. Only versatile mats can be used for multiple exercises. Let us first clear up any doubts in your mind as to what Pilates and Yoga are before we go into the differences between them.

Yoga

Yoga was developed in India to connect individual consciousness to universal consciousness by physical activity. In short, it aims to improve your physical health and your emotional and spiritual health as well. Practicing yoga is highly therapeutic because it incorporates repetitive movement. Moreover, it strengthens and increases flexibility. Meditation is often a part of yoga exercises. People who are looking for ways to unwind from stressful situations tend to be attracted to the meditative portion of yoga.

Yoga includes various forms, from Hatha, which is a good exercise after a long day, to Kundalini, which has been said to help individuals with addictions. If you seek more physical activity, you can try Sivananda yoga, an exercise that involves 12 common poses that lead to greater flexibility and muscle strength.

Pilates

As opposed to yoga and other activities, Pilates is relatively new. As a rehabilitation technique, Pilates was created in 1920 by Joseph Pilates. A Pilates routine is designed to build flexibility, strength, and body awareness without gaining bulk. Although you may experience an increased heart rate as a beginner, it is considered a resistance exercise. The Pilates method also contains several exercises that are only possible on specific machines, such as the reformer and the Cadillac.

Pilates builds strength and balance levels by strengthening the stomach, improving posture, stabilizing and elongating the spine, and strengthening the spine.


Difference between Pilates and Yoga

Overall, Pilates and yoga have different ultimate goals, which is the biggest difference between them. Your quality of life is improved through yoga’s meditative aspect. Yoga relieves stress and improves your physical health. Pilates works your whole body from the center outward. As a result, you become more aware of your body and work from the core, i.e., body awareness. There is no denying the benefits of both yoga and Pilates. One of the best things is that you do not have to choose between the two. You can effectively transform your daily schedule with Pilates and yoga.

Now let’s take a look at how yoga differs from mat Pilates. A yoga mat is thinner than a Pilates mat. Yoga mats are typically 1.4 to 1.8 inches thick, while Pilates mats are 1.2 to 3.8 inches thick. Further, Pilates mats are smoother, while yoga mats are grippier. To find out more about choosing the best mat for Pilates or yoga, continue reading.


What’s the Difference Between Pilates Mat and Yoga Mats?

The key differences between Pilates and yoga mats are in their thickness, density, and texture.  Compared to yoga mats, Pilates mats are thicker, denser, wider, and smoother to provide the support, balanced body, stability, and even surface you need to perform delicate movements like sloping with precision.

Mats for yoga are thinner, softer, and rougher in texture, so they are firm on the ground. Thanks to its excellent grip and ability to stay firmly planted on the ground, it allows you to perform a variety of yoga poses, from simple to complex, from gentle to vigorous, in lying, sitting, or standing positions to upside down.


1- Thicker vs. Thinner

Compared to a Pilates mat for exercises, which is about half an inch thick, a yoga mat is usually between 1/8 and 1/4 inches thick. It’s not the perfect thickness that determines the quality of a workout mat. Levels of cushioning and padding vary in thickness based on the purpose they serve. 

It is suggested by the Department of Health and Human Services, Australia, that Pilates, involving elements such as strength, balance, body weight, gravity, and endurance, requires extra cushioning to support you and prevent injuries. In many mat-based Pilates exercises, you must lay on your stomach or back, rolling around on your tailbone.

Therefore, Pilates mats are thicker and padded to provide your spine with additional support and ensure a safe practice. Compared to any other mat, Pilates mats must provide the safest support base for mat-based Pilates.

As a result, yoga mats allow you to perform yoga poses without interfering with your breathing, essential to an effective yoga workout! In addition to keeping you grounded, they help you maintain balance and posture by allowing you to keep your hands and feet firmly in place.

For better execution of many yoga poses, there is less padding required. Having too much cushioning can cause your movements to be restricted due to its softness. The thinner the mat is, the easier it is to maintain balance and move back and forth.

Yoga mats are as crucial as Pilates mats when it comes to thinness. Yoga mats are available in many different styles, each of which is better enjoyed with the right mat.

2- Pilates Mat is Denser than Yoga Mat

Balance and support are highly dependent on the density of Pilates mats. Density is not the same as thickness, though. Fitness mats with a thin surface may be denser than those with a thick cover. The density of the material is dependent on the arrangement of its molecules. Another way of putting it is how tightly the material is molded together. Denser mats are usually firmer and more stable, but the mat’s density also affects the mat’s design and construction.

Even though a softer mat might feel thicker and denser, it isn’t convenient to provide you with the necessary support and balance. Cheap budget mats are similar to trampolines, where you always worry about tripping and falling.

Because yoga mats are thin, they are adherent to the surface, balancing these odds. By sticking firmly to the ground, yoga mats utilize their sticky properties.

3- The Size of Pilates Mats Vs. Yoga Mats

Yoga mats and Pilates mats are similar in length. The standard yoga mat length is about 68 inches, but extra-long models can measure 72 to 74 inches. If you’re tall, there’s no need to compromise. What makes them different is their width.

Yoga mats usually provide a narrower surface area than Pilates mats since many mat-based Pilates exercises require a wider surface area.

4- Texture Difference

Another essential feature of a workout mat is its texture. The rough surface of yoga mats makes them less slippery and sticky enough to grip the ground. A yoga mat’s coarse surface is what keeps the surface flat while being moved. In addition, it provides sufficient friction to perform complex poses without causing wrinkles or ridges on the mat.

On the other hand, Pilates mats tend to be thicker, denser, and stickier. This does not mean they are going to stick to the ground. Instead, they have a smooth texture, sliding easily and keeping your balanced body.

The smooth texture of a Pilates mat allows you to perform continuous movements through precise ranges of motion, requiring correct placement and resistance.

5- Differences in the Material of Pilates Mats and Yoga Mats

PVC or other foam material is typically used in yoga and Pilates mats, but it can always vary. TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomer) can also be used to make Pilates mats. In comparison, PVC, TPE, cotton, jute, mesh, rubber, and recycled rubber are materials for yoga mats. In general, Eco- and earth-friendly products are desired.


Can You Use A Pilates Mat As A Yoga Mat?

Yoga mats can be used as Pilates mats. It is possible to have issues with gripping and balance when using a Pilates mat for yoga, based on the mat’s material and mat thickness. In comparison to yoga mats, Pilates mats are also bulky when rolled up. However, if you only have a Pilates mat or don’t want to clutter the living room with two mats, you can always try yoga with the Pilates mat first. 

Buyer’s Guide for Pilates Exercise Mats

Pilates mats for a class are usually crafted from wood bases and richly padded. In Pilates class, unlike in yoga classes, Pilates students do not bring their own mats to the types. What do they do if a Pilates practitioner wants to exercise away from a studio? Do they use a yoga mat? Not exactly. They use exercise mats at home that are specifically suited for Pilates.

Take a look at the list below to discover which styles, specifications, and materials are suitable for a Pilates workout. Make sure you test the mat before you buy it.


1- Density

In terms of density, you have two options. A thick, dense mat provides adequate cushioning for your spine in a very firm mat. There are also gymnast mats that are much thicker yet far less firm. Soft gymnastics mats offer less support, which actually challenges the body more.

The mat you choose should be dense enough to pad your spine yet provide cushioning according to your preferences. While firm mats are helpful for Pilates at home, softer mats are also beneficial.

2- Finish

The sticky finish used on yoga mats helps prevent slipping. Exercises like Pilates do not rely upon this feature, but a smoother surface is beneficial in many activities.

3- Size

A standard yoga mat measures about two feet by six feet. It’s definitely possible to do the full Pilates routine on this yoga mat size.

As you advance in your practice, you may have more options on a slightly wider mat. If space isn’t an issue, you might consider an old gym mat where you can stretch out and use all the surface area.

The mat you choose should fit your personal space. There are many sizes of industrial-size fitness mats available. Pilates mats of four feet by eight feet are the perfect size for home use.


Benefits of a Pro Mat 

For an authentic Pilates experience at home, consider going pro level if space and budget are not an issue. Many Pilates manufacturers offer studio and individual equipment.

Studios offer mats with accessories like wooden dowels for your hands, small boxes, and foot straps. You can choose your favorite, customize your color selection, and then wait for a huge box to arrive directly at your doorstep.

A few key suppliers outfit the studios of professionals, including Gratz Pilates, Pilates Designs by Basil, Balanced Body, and Peak Pilates. Take a look online if you’re interested in finding used Pilates equipment.

3 Best Yoga Mats

If you are going to use a yoga mat for in-person classes, it needs to be comfortable and supportive, provide enough grip to keep you from slipping, and be easy to clean and carry (from home to the park or back to the gym). Durable nonslip surface, plenty of grips, cushion-like surface, and a variety of colors are some characteristics to choose the best non-slip surface yoga mats. Let’s see 3 best yoga mats:

  1. We chose Lululemon’s Reversible Mat 5mm as the winner. No matter your yoga style, you’ll be covered by its dual-textured sides, firm-yet-cushiony rubber construction, and ample size.
  2. JadeYoga Harmony Mat is made from 100% plastic products. This offers some benefits since it can absorb a lot of moisture and maintain traction in sweaty conditions-perhaps too much for some people, as it can be challenging to pivot your feet or slide your hands as you move between poses.
  3. The 5-millimeter-thick Gaiam Performance Dry-Grip Yoga Mat is a good option if you are allergic to latex or dislike the smell of rubber. The polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material benefits a moisture-resistant texture and provides cushioning and firm support, which pleases our joints and grounds our standing poses. A smooth top layer, meant to draw moisture away from our skin, kept our hands and feet secure as we transitioned through a flow. It is relatively light in weight.

The Best Pilates Mat of 2022

  1. The Yoga Mat is made of the best premium Eco-friendly material. A Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE), low modulus, and flexible mat that can be stretched over and over. Advantages: non-slip texture and the double-layer anti-tear design.
  2. The Sivian Health and Fitness: an ultra-thick construction. Advantages: easy to clean. You may only find basic colors, which is a disadvantage.
  3. The new Fitness Yoga Mat: A non-slip mat with Eco-friendly materials.

Final Words

Here are some explanation of difference between Pilates mat and yoga mat . Although yoga and Pilates mats are different and serve different purposes, both offer a range of benefits ranging from pain relief, disability improvement, or core stability to nonspecific lower back pain, which is quite common for modern working women.

Apart from that, the only thing that matters is your commitment, discipline, diet, sleep, and the right equipment, not where you train. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish. The right props are always essential for a safe and effective workout, whether it’s weight training, calisthenics, yoga, Pilates, or even swimming.

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