Pilates has been around for almost a century, yoga originated approximately 5000 years ago. You think that both have been long enough for us to know their differences, but this is not the case. In fact this is the most common question I receive, "What is the difference between Pilates & Yoga?"
First of all Pilates doesn't translate from Sanskrit, it's actually a last name of its founder. Full name Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. He was a very sick child that doctors thought he might die prematurely. Pilates didn't want to listen to the doctors prognosis and while still a teenager he started to study yoga, martial arts, boxing and weight lifting.
In my opinion, there is undoubtedly a massive influence of each style mentioned above in Pilates exercise sequence. Pilates straps come from the time when Joseph Pilates helped to recover patients injured during WW1 and more advanced exercises came from the time Joseph Pilates started to help ballet dancers to overcome their injuries in his studio in New York.
Pilates didn't choose to publish or patent his work. For the first time Pilates techniques were documented in his book "Return to Life Through Contrology" in 1945. He had apprentices who later on passed their methods to their students, who passed to their students and so on. Therefore, in these days, Pilates original 'contrology' method is interpreted in slightly different way from school to school.
Regardless how Pilates original method is interpreted nowadays, the emphasis is on quality of movement through control of the mind and body. This brings us to fundamentals of Pilates:
As my teacher once said, "adding Pilates breathing, any exercise can become Pilates". She has a point. When I train with weights, I place a massive attention to the breath and precision of movement. I prepare my mind first, observe my posture, inhale deep, exhale with exertion and move with a flow. Knowledge in Pilates, always supports any type of training, allowing me to move safe and stay focused.