Yin yoga and restorative yoga, while similar, are actually quite different.
Yin yoga is a style of yoga that focuses on stretching the connective tissues in order to lengthen them and help release built-up tension. The poses are held anywhere from two to seven minutes and work with the energy meridians in your body, plus increase flexibility, improve joint mobility, and release trauma in the body.
Restorative yoga is more of a meditative practice that relies on blocks, straps, sandbags, bolsters, and blankets to create a passive release of mind and body. This style helps let go of deep tension in a passive way, without any active stretch or engagements in the body.
Both yin and restorative are slow-paced and focus on only a few different poses in each class. Both practices help calm the mind and nervous system and enable you to turn inward.
Yin yoga and restorative yoga are both gentle and appropriate for all levels of students, from total beginners to experienced practitioners to athletes and seniors or even people with injuries and movement limitations.
Many people think that these two types of yoga are interchangeable because of all the similarities they share. But that’s not really the case.
So, let’s look at the differences.
Differences Between Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga
These two practices of yoga are similar because they are slow, meditative, and focused on long posture holds. But they also have some key differences, such as:
- There is an active stretch in yin yoga but in restorative yoga, the goal is to be totally supported by your props and with only passive movements or stretches.
- In yin yoga, the focus is on stretching your connective tissues and the like, but in restorative yoga, the focus is on the release of any mind-body tension.
- Both styles use props but in yin yoga, when props are used they are meant to either deepen or ease the stretch. In restorative yoga, props are used to completely support your body. Restorative yoga commonly uses more props than yin in each pose.
- Restorative yoga poses are held for longer than yin yoga poses.
Who Should Practice Yin Yoga?
Yin yoga is best for people looking to:
- Increase flexibility
- Keep joints healthy and mobile
- Improve posture
- Release trauma and emotions that become stored in the body
Who Should Practice Restorative Yoga?
Restorative yoga is best for:
- Stress release
- Deep relaxation
- Connecting with the breath
- Creating a sense of safety in the mind and body
- Reaching a state of mindful rest
Students should try both types of yoga to see which one best suits their needs, and might even decide to add both into a regular practice. If you want to learn more about yin yoga how it can have a healing and restorative impact on the body, click here.