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Are Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga the same thing?

One question I am asked often, "Is Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga the same thing?" The quick answer is no…

Although it may appear the poses in each practice are similar, the intention of each practice is very different.

Yin Yoga's intention is to add stress to our body and mind in a good way, called eustress. Eustress is a positive type of stress which is needed for rejuvenation of our tissues, thoughts, energy and the like. With a mindful application of Yin Yoga poses, we stress ourselves in a beneficial way which encourages the body's healing properties to mend us…we can become stronger, healthier and more resilient.

In Yin Yoga, you will hold poses for 3-5 minutes, often with the use of props such as blankets or pillows to support you from going too deeply, too quickly, into the pose. Most of the Yin poses are done on the ground, and your teacher will guide and coach you to find your edge. You never want to feel pain in a pose, but you may feel an intense sensation. Always come out of a pose that feels painful, numbing, hot, searing or tearing and ask your teacher for a modification or assistance.

Restorative Yoga also works with stress, but in a very different way. Restorative Yoga's intention is to eliminate the effects of daily stress in our body and mind, called distress. Distress has negative impact on our body and mind and can lead to a long list of health problems such as elevated blood pressure, sleep disturbances, weight gain, lack of focus, lethargy, depressions, diabetes and more.

In Restorative Yoga, we will hold poses for 15-30 minutes in complete relaxation and support, often with the use of props such as blankets and pillows. All of the Restorative Yoga poses are intended to engage our parasympathetic nervous system, allowing us to off load the negative consequences of stress. The practice of Restorative Yoga has a cumulative effect, meaning the more you practice, the quicker and longer the positive impact on the body.

Both eustress and distress play an important role in our overall health and well-being. Exploring both Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga practices under the guidance of a teacher that understands the differences between these specialized practices will benefit those interested in these experiential practices. Please contact me for more information!

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