Yin Yoga is NOT Restorative Yoga
How is yin yoga not the same as restorative yoga, you ask? I'm here to tell you, at least from what I have learned as a teacher and my personal opinion. I've seen so many yoga sequences posted on Pinterest,YouTube and elsewhere that are titled as "Yin Yoga". The problem however is these sequences or videos are restorative yoga sequences not yin yoga.
Ya'll, Yin Yoga is Not Restorative Yoga!!
Restorative yoga is a type of yoga used to relax and restore the body. Yin Yoga is not at all the same. Okay, some yin yoga poses are more relaxing and can put the body in a more restful state. And yes, almost every yin yoga pose is done seated or laying. However that does not automatically mean easy, restful and restorative.
Yin yogalengthens and strengthens the tissues of the body. It goes deeper than the muscles. Yin yoga targets the facia, joints and ligaments.
Bernie Clark (a well known teacher of yin yoga) describes yin yoga as a way of exercising the tissues of the body. When done correctly, yin yoga puts just the right amount of stress on the joints, ligaments and connective tissues. In doing this, tension and pent up emotions can be released in various places throughout the body.
In a recent article by Yoga Journal, it states that holding a yin yoga pose is similar to the sensation of acupuncture or acupressure. Meaning a yin posture will put and hold pressure (gently) on a certain meridian or area of the body. The pressure remains until the pose is released and the body is able to move. Through this pressure, it helps to release deep rooted tension that can lead to pain or bottled up emotions throughout the body.
Distraction is highly probable during a quieter yoga session like yin yoga. Sitting quietly in a pose, with little to no movement can make your mind wonder or make you feel like fleeing. When we feel uncomfortable physically the logical step is to move. The process is to hold the pose with little to no movement. Each pose is held for 1-15 minutes. By holding the poses for longer periods of time, it allows the muscles to release. The hold is important for getting past the muscle tissues and targeting the connective tissues.
Taking time to set an intention (focus) at the beginning of a class and revisiting it throughout the session can help to keep your mind from wondering. If that doesn't resinate with you, try focusing on your inhales and exhales. Listening to soothing music can help distract the mind and take the "fight or flight" feeling out of the poses.
Be mindful that when you're starting out, taking on a 60-75 minute class might be a little too much. Try doing the poses but creating a bit of movement when you feel like you need to move. If there's ever burning or sharp pain, move out of the pose. This is a signal that you may be causing more harm than good. Discomfort is normal, pain is not.
Balancing the body!
Adding yin to your normal physical activity or weekly yoga routine will help to create balance throughout the body. Many students have said they notice subtle sifts happening with a prolonged yin yoga practice. Which makes sense. When you commit to doing something for a while, you usually see some sort of change. Therefore, the more you practice yoga, the deeper connection to the emotional and physical self can be reached.
Try out a 20 minute Hips & Hamstrings yin yoga video or a written Hip & Hamstring Opening Sequence if you can't view a video at this time. If you have time for a live class but can't make it to practice with me in person, find me on OmPractice!
Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction. If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.