Restorative Yoga vs Yin Yoga and what is the Fascia

We started to seek more of the slow and gentle styles of yoga to balance our hectic, fast paced and stressful lifes.  You might have heard about yin yoga and restorative yoga, and wondered the difference between the two. They might seem quite similar when you first look. They both  slow paced  and gentle, floor based practices, and tend to use quite a few props, blankets, bolsters and blocks. You will not much likely  sweat much, and will certainly not get into any hand stands or work on your core. But believe me, both practices are still going to be challenging. Gentle and slow doesn’t always mean easy. 

Both styles are a branch of Hatha Yoga, and both are ‘yin’ style,  whereas more dynamic form of practices, where we flow and heat up the body, are ‘yang’ style.  They are both gentle, slow and passive styles – but this isn’t always mean they are easy.

The main difference between Yin and Restorative is the intention we have for the practice and the degrees of the poses . 

Lets take a look at Restorative yoga: 

Restorative yoga targets the mind. During a restorative yoga class we are looking to feel completely supported and relaxed, diving in to the parasympathetic nervous system. We set the body up into different forms/poses, which are supported, so we can surrender into the moment, without needing any muscle tension to hold the pose, or feeling any discomfort. The poses then held for minutes at the time giving you the opportunity to turn inward, and tune in with your mind. The practice will leave you relaxed and grounded. 

Yin yoga introduced by Paul Grilley in the late 1980’s  targets the deep connective tissues: the ligament, the joints, the bones and the fascia. The fascia surrounds our muscles ( and organs ) providing the framework of our body! My next blog post will be all about the fascia! 

So back to yin yoga. At a yin class we find stillness in passive long holds, allowing the mind to quiet down. When we put a tissue under stress, the body will respond by strengthening it. This is the principle of every form of exercise. While the muscles benefit from repeated contractions, the connective tissues will respond to a long, steady and gentle stretch. But a yin class will certainly take you out of your comfort zone, and learning to stay calm, steady and focussed despite the mind’s urgent pleas to leave is one of the great benefits of a regular yin yoga practice.In essence both Yin and Restorative yoga bring us opportunity to slow down and tune in, and take a break from the busy life. 

Leave a Reply