In the last while I’ve really found myself gravitating more and more towards Yin Yoga. That’s not to say that I don’t still love my hatha practise but I find that Yin is the perfect antidote to the busy world we live in.
But what’s the difference between Yin yoga and Restorative yoga?
For starters they both have different origins and different intentions
Yes in both Yin and Restorative yoga, passive poses held for an extended periods of time.
Restorative yoga has it’s origins in Hatha yoga but while Yin uses poses that comes from Hatha it is actually inspiried by traditional chinese medicine and by Taoism. Yin Yoganblends the asana (poses) of hatha with Taoism. Yin Yoga is the practise of unlocking blockagess in the meridans, where as in Hatha yoga the focus is more on Nadi which through Prana flows and the energy centres, the Chakras. In Taoism is the meridans through which chi flows. It’s not contradictory but it’s a different lineage.
Yin Yoga is often referred to as the yoga of the joints. While practising Yin we are getting deep into the fascia, the connective tissue of the body and clearing energy blockages within it
The 3 fundamental principles of Yin are:
1) Find your Edge – Do not push or force your body in anyway. When getting into a pose, we are not going to the most intense version of it. On a intensity scale from 1- 10 (1 being you feel nothing and 10 being pain, we go to about a 4. The advise it to back off – you can increase your flexibility without pushing ot your maximum. Get to the limit of what you withstand and relax there.
2) Resolve to be still – this can be quite challenging – we use props to help us to sink in and hold the pose. When we stop contracting our muscles we move into the joins and connective tissue. The objective is to be soft and relax . This can be a lot harder than it sounds. In this way Yin is very meditative. Without the flowing movement of a hatha class for the mind to fix on, it has to be become still and for many of us this can be where the challenge lies.
3) Hold the pose – approx 3/5 . A pose feels very different from 1 minute to the next. We hold them longer because we are trying to affect the connective tissue in the body, and it’s this that creates lasting structural change in the body. Slowly and surely let the pressure sink in and cause the change. J
Honour your body’s limitation. Anything the teacher says are just suggestions. You are the only one who know how something feels. Back off if you’ve pushed your self too far. Back out if that happens
In Yin Yoga you’re not practising the poses with the same intention as in a restorative/hatha class. For example if you’re practicing pigeon pose in a hatha class you might be contracting and engaging the muscles, hugging muscles to bone…in a Yin Yoga class it’s a passive pose where you are relaxing the muscles allowing your to move more into the connective tissue.