Although Pilates and Yoga do have many similarities, their areas of focus and the way the methods achieve their results are very different. Yoga's main purpose is to utilize exercises, breathing and meditation to achieve calmness and peace. Yoga uses only a Mat to create a comfortable experience. Pilates focuses on achieving personal well-being by improving the body's range of motion, balance and overall strength. The method, developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, utilizes a wide range of equipment to assist the body in achieving ideal form and function.
A Pilates Mat has extra padding which differes from a Yoga Mat. The padding protects the spine during rolling exercises, as well as hips, knees and other sensitive areas. While Yoga poses flow from one to the next in a sequence. Each Pilates exercise is repeated for a certain number of repetitions before flowing to the next exercise.
Yoga was developed thousands of years ago in India. Pilates was developed over Joseph Pilates lifetime with the first studio opening in 1927.
Most Pilates teachers trace there teaching method back to an Elder or student of Joseph Pilates. There have only been a handful of new styles of Pilates created. Some Pilates teachers are open to the styles while others think the name "Pilates" should be reserved for the classical method only.
Yoga, older then Pilates but with many new branches of Yoga being created regularly. The spiritual connection to the practice making the experience differ for each individual.