YIN YOGA / RESTORATIVE YOGA … What is the difference?
This looks pretty easy right? try staying here for longer then 2 mins and you will see that Yin Yoga can be a bit deceiving.
A lot of the time Yin is treated like a restorative practice when it is not. It is quite demanding. Restorative yoga is different, it is about restoring an unhealthy / injured body back to normal health. The poses are similar to Yin yoga poses but more props are used to support the pose in order to restore the body and not cause more stress to it.
So what is Yin Yoga?
In Yin we do a small number of poses within a 60/90mins class. These are generally held between 2 – 10mins. We are working with a healthy body that has more than likely formed some unhealthy patterns of movement over time. Yes, like restorative yoga we will use props to support the posture but not to the same extent.
How it works..
The muscles in our body are always in some form of tension. They need to be in order to support us and our daily activities.
However, we have other tensions that arise within the body due to habitual patterns of movement (or lack of) and stresses from just living. In-fact not just muscles tighten, our fascia network (web encompassing the whole body) tightens depending on our diet, hydration, cortisol, movement or like I said earlier, lack of movement.
In Yin yoga we are putting a slight stress on the connective tissue, in this case we are talking Yin tissues which are tendons, ligaments and fascia in order to create more mobility within the joint structure.
More mobility means more freedom of movement = happy body and mind!
Now I am not talking about hyper mobility or over stretching – neither of which are good things. But we are looking to create a slight stress to the muscles (which is a yang tissue) and once this has started to release some tension we can gain access to the deeper tissues within the body, i.e Yin tissues as stated earlier.
Now please understand we are not activating the muscles, we are releasing them and using props in order to sustain and support the release. There is a point where it begins to feel uncomfortable, this is usually about 1 mins into the pose. We might become agitated, begin to fidget or feel a bit nauseous or extremely happy (YES this does happen) and all of these are perfectly normal.
Why is that? because our body is a store house of tension and emotions and its usually the muscles/connective tissue which take the brunt of our lives, so they get tighter and tighter. That tension has to release itself through some means and usually it is through the emotional and physical body.
Better out then in!! When my students are struggling with staying still or begin to look at me with desperate eyes, I get them to focus on their breathing – exhaling the tension through the mouth is a great release, you can use Lions Breath to really let it go. Its important to remember that it will pass, like all uncomfortable situations in life; they pass.
What I see a lot of now is restorative yoga being put out there as Yin Yoga. So I just wanted to explain the difference between the two. Both of them are great practices depending on your needs and requirements. Yin will be a challenge but it offers a great return on the time invested. Hope to see you in class soon.
Yin Classes are held every Monday 6:15 – 7:15pm / Friday 6:15 – 7:15pm / Saturday Facebook Live 10:30am – 11am