Fitness Sports Tips Yoga

The Difference Between Stretching and Yoga (Why Yoga Isn’t Just Fancy Stretching)

February 15, 2016


Not going to lie; when I first started thinking about this, I didn’t really see any difference between stretching and yoga. Maybe yoga is just a little more sporty?

*reads a few articles… thank you Google*

So turns out, there really is a difference between stretching and yoga.

Well yeah, one’s become a million dollar industry, including everything from special yoga socks to mats of every colour, while the other is usually taught to kids during PE class.

But before we launch into this great debate, let’s talk about some of the benefits of stretching (and warming up) first:

+ more mobility and flexibility
+ less risk of injury
+ increased blood flow
+ loosening tension

Yoga gives you allll those PLUS:

+ builds muscle strength
+ ups your mood
+ promotes a healthy lifestyle
+ improves your balance
+ so much more
(and a few debatable ones…. like boosting sexual performance)

Not a bad deal right? There are also a few other things that show the difference between stretching and yoga.


differences-yoga-stretching-3(I just though this was a hilarious photo…)

+ Stretching is good when you use various moves but yoga is more about the flow of various moves.

This might be the most obvious difference between stretching and yoga; yoga is all about series of moves and the flow between them. You’ll never hear a yoga instructor just going through and counting down 15 seconds between multiple moves. Speaking of a yoga instructor, if you’re thinking of becoming one yourself, then it could be worth checking out for more info about how to start your training!

+ You can breathe while stretching (and probably should) but yoga has an emphasis on breathing.

And even though breathing while stretching is usually good (as it is for most things…), yoga actually puts on emphasis on breathing exercises (pranayama).

+ Yoga’s about your mental game too.

While you could use your stretching time to visualise scoring that winning goal, yoga is generally more about mentality than just stretching is.


All this being said on the difference between stretching and yoga though, it’s important to remember that neither stretching or yoga should really be a stand-alone workouts. The makings a true fitness are strength, flexibility, balance and cardio.

While yoga does cover most of the first three, it’s not really a cardio workout (that being said, it’s definitely not easy either… have you tried hot yoga?!). And stretching is really nothing more than flexibility-enhancing (it should really just be your warm up).

What do you think? Are you team yoga or team stretch?

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  • Romantiquely February 15, 2016 at 11:46

    I can send this post to anyone who tells me that yoga is basically stretching! YES! Thank you so much for sharing, I always learn so much from your posts! Also you look so elegant while you stretch, teach me your ways?! Hehe. xxxxx

    • Pia @ Gymbags and Jetlags February 18, 2016 at 12:04

      Yes!! And ha. Me? Elegant?! I’m flattered haha. Thanks for reading as always <3

  • Elyse February 15, 2016 at 17:08

    This is good to know! Yoga is definitely allllll about the breathing and the timings. I’ve always wanted to try couple’s yoga (I feel like it might be awkward but fun!)
    Great post 🙂

    • Pia @ Gymbags and Jetlags February 18, 2016 at 12:04

      I love that idea too! Definitely awkward but probably a good boding experience haha. Let me know if you do try it!

  • Quinn February 16, 2016 at 12:02

    I have tried yoga countless times and have consistently written is off as ‘just not for me,’ even though I know it has so many benefits! Once again, Pia, you may have convinced me to give something else a try for the sake of fitness 😉 I really do need to get my yoga on – thanks for the inspo!


    • Pia @ Gymbags and Jetlags February 18, 2016 at 12:05

      Aw, I’m honoured to have inspired you! I’m the same way with spinning though, so I totally feel you. It’s just not for me haha.

  • Kat Horrocks February 16, 2016 at 17:51

    I find yoga relieves stress so much better than stretching – I once read that holding the uncomfortable poses like twists, etc. actually massages your internal organs? Could be BS but sounded awesome lol!! I put that down to the zen feeling I get afterwards anyway!

    Kat |

    • Pia @ Gymbags and Jetlags February 18, 2016 at 12:05

      I think I’ve heard that too! Hmmmm, maybe there’ll be a post on that soon 😉

  • Brooke & Erica February 17, 2016 at 14:56

    I am team both 🙂 I love a good stretch but I also love yoga because its more intense and I always feel sooooo much more loose (as well as strong) when I do it because it forces me into holding deep stretches.


    • Pia @ Gymbags and Jetlags February 18, 2016 at 12:06

      Agreed! I think it really depends on what you’re going for. Thanks for reading, Erica!

  • Cailee Joy February 17, 2016 at 19:05

    This is awesome haha, “yoga isn’t just fancy stretching!” I love it. So true… I actually love them both! I recently did a post about the benefits of yoga, but I do love stretching too! Thanks for the info!
    Xoxo Cailee @ 🙂

    • Pia @ Gymbags and Jetlags February 18, 2016 at 12:06

      So glad you liked the post Cailee! I’m about to check out your blog too. Thanks for reading! <3

  • Comfycozyup Books (Comfycozyup April 17, 2016 at 01:30

    Yes….Love this post! Yoga is so much more than what people think….