Yin and Restorative Yoga: Origins, Principles, and Movement

Yin and Restorative Yoga: Origins, Principles, and Movement

yin yoga restorative yogi now studio class definition

Yoga is really a beautiful practice that offers a wide range of styles, and it has something to offer to everyone. Two styles we're going to cover today, Restorative and Yin Yoga, stand out for their peaceful, calming and introspective nature.

Both practices have a really slow pace, we hold postures for a longer time and use props a lot and we’ll also stay on the floor for the entire class. Yet, although Yin yoga and restorative yoga may seem similar, each has its own unique qualities.

By exploring their origins, principles, and movements, we can understand why these practices have become popular choices for those seeking relaxation and mindfulness and hopefully it will give you more information and make you want to try them out.

First Off : Key Differences

Both styles of practice encourage us to look within ourselves. By being calm and in steady poses, we develop a stronger connection with our inner selves, practicing mindfulness in the process.

Yin and Restorative practices have their own distinct philosophies and objectives. Let's dive into each practice to get a clearer understanding of how they differ. But before we do that, let's quickly talk about some of the key differences between them.

  • In yin yoga, you'll find yourself actively stretching, whereas in restorative yoga, the main objective is to fully rely on your props for support and only engage in passive movements or stretches.
  • Yin yoga targets those connective tissues by giving them a good stretch, while restorative yoga takes a different approach. It's all about releasing the tension that builds up in your mind and body, and helping your nervous system find that sweet spot of healing.
  • In yin yoga, props are used to deepen or modify the stretch, while in restorative yoga, props are all about providing full support to your body. Restorative yoga tends to rely on props more often than yin yoga does.
  • Restorative yoga poses require you to hold them for a longer duration compared to yin yoga poses.

Now let’s dive a bit deeper to learn a little bit about what they are, who might like them, and what their unique benefits are.

Restorative Yoga:

Developed in the mid-20th century, Restorative Yoga comes from B. K. S. Iyengar, who discovered the healing powers of yoga after battling a lot of illnesses during his childhood. He was the one to come up with the idea of using props like bolsters, blankets, and straps in his yoga practice.

Restorative yoga is all about helping our body heal and recover, triggering the body to start the healing process through deep relaxation, entering a state where the parasympathetic nervous system (the "rest and digest" system) is activated.

It's a calming practice that focuses on passive stretches held for longer periods, up to 20 minutes sometime, allowing your mind and body to relax completely

Restorative yoga is best for:

  • Meditation
  • Those looking to heal
  • Stress release
  • Deep relaxation
  • Creating a sense of safety in the mind and body
  • Reaching a state of mindful rest

Yin Yoga:

While Yin Yoga is often believed to have ancient roots, its modern version gained popularity in the late 1970s thanks to Paulie Zink, a martial arts champion. Later, it was further refined by Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers, who added influences from Taoist yoga traditions and integrated Chinese meridian theory.

Unlike the fast-paced vinyasa yoga, which is more 'yang', Yin Yoga takes a different approach. It's all about balance - think super gentle but deep stretches that really help you mellow out. It's a great way to find some calm and get in tune with your body. Trust me, it's a game-changer if you're looking to relax and recharge.

Yin Yoga also sets itself apart from Restorative by its intention. While Restorative focuses on long-held postures, Yin Yoga is about gently stressing the fascia – that's the stuff around your muscles and organs. This helps boost circulation in your joints and seriously ups your flexibility game.

You hold the poses for a good while, typically between 2 to 7 minutes which lets you really stretch out those deeper tissues. Sure, it can get intense, but there's this amazing balance with relaxation that just feels so good afterward.

The Yin poses are also working with your body's energy pathways that can be super therapeutic : they gently nudge at any stored-up trauma in your body, helping to release it.

It's pretty amazing how much your body can heal and open up in just a few minutes of mindful stretching!

Yin yoga is best for:

  • Balance a more energetic yang like exercise routine
  • Increase flexibility
  • Keep joints healthy and mobile
  • Improve posture
  • Release trauma and emotions that become stored in the body

Yin and Restorative Yoga are more than just physical practices; they're a amazing to find inner peace and self-awareness. I am going to be honest though, it can really be challenging to sit in stillness for some of us, so give yourself some grace and a chance to taste the benefits of these practices. They teach us the beauty of mindfulness, and the importance of self-care.

And maybe, just maybe, in the quiet spaces of these practices, you might just find the peace and balance you've been seeking.

Thank you, as always, for reading. AND for inviting me to be a part of your world.

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