What are the differences between restorative yoga and yin yoga?

What are the differences between restorative yoga and yin yoga?

It makes sense that restorative yoga and yin yoga are sometimes confused with one another. These two practices are similar in many ways. They’re both slow, receptive, calming, cooling, and oftentimes, they both emphasize contemplative teachings.

These two practices do have some essential differences though. I often get asked how these two forms of yoga are different from each other, so watch the video and read the post to learn more:

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Yin Yoga Practice Video : Wall Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga Practice Video : Wall Yin Yoga

Using the wall is a great way to support the body if you’re feeling fatigued, or if you’re looking for a very gentle practice. Using the wall is also helpful if you or your students have some physical barriers that limit mobility in seated yin yoga poses.

Parts of this practice could be considered more “restorative” due to the very supported nature of the poses. But if you’re feeling a “stretch”, or feeling gentle pressure in the body, that means you’re still activating the connective tissues which is a central tenant in the yin yoga style of practice.

In any case, you can use this practice to slow down and calm the nervous system, or to support tired legs and feet. Check out the video to practice along:

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Yin Yoga Toe Squat pose and Yin Yoga Ankle Stretch pose with modifications

Yin Yoga Toe Squat pose and Yin Yoga Ankle Stretch pose with modifications

Yin yoga toe squat and yin yoga ankle stretch are great to open the bottom of the feet (the plantar fascia), they create more space in the toes and they open the ankles.

These yin poses also target all of the lower meridians that run through the feet. The meridians targeted are the Kidney, Urinary Bladder, Liver, Gallbladder, Spleen, and Stomach meridians.

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Yin Yoga Posture Sleeping Swan and Yin Yoga Posture Pigeon Pose with modifications

Yin Yoga Posture Sleeping Swan and Yin Yoga Posture Pigeon Pose with modifications

The yin yoga posture of sleeping swan pose or pigeon pose creates external rotation in the front leg, and targets the quads and hip flexors. It’s also a backbend which compresses the lower back and can help maintain the health of the lower spine..

Sleeping swan pose primarily targets the Liver, Gall Bladder, spleen, Stomach, Kidney and Urinary Bladder meridians.

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Yin Yoga Forward Fold and Yin Yoga Caterpillar Pose with modifications

Yin Yoga Forward Fold  and Yin Yoga Caterpillar Pose with modifications

Caterpillar pose is a straight-legged forward fold. It helps to lengthen the ligaments that run along the spine, activates the hamstrings, and compresses the abdomen aiding in digestion. It also triggers the Bladder channel that runs along the back line of the legs and along either side of the spine.

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Yin Yoga Melting Heart Pose and Yin Yoga Quarter Dog Pose with modifications

Yin Yoga Melting Heart Pose and Yin Yoga Quarter Dog Pose with modifications

Melting heart is a beautiful backbend for the upper and mid back. It helps to open the shoulders and the heart. Remember if you feel any tingling in your hands or arms to back off. You can also lpace your hands shoulder width or wider to ease some pressure in the upper back. If you would like to intensify the opening bring your chin towards the floor instead of the forehead. You can also use padding under various areas such as the knees, ankles or chest to create more comfort and ease.

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Yin Yoga Butterfly Pose with modifications

Yin Yoga Butterfly Pose with modifications

Butterfly pose is one of the most accessible forward folds in the yin yoga practice. It's a great pose to open up space in the back, hips, and adductors (inner leg). And it targets the Ball Bladder, Kidney, Liver and Urinary Bladder meridians in the Chinese system.

It's a great low back stretch for people who are sometimes limited in other forward folds due to tight hamstrings and its a good forward fold option during pregnancy due to the space it provides the belly. 

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Yoga Posture Basics :: Legs up the Wall / Viparita Karani

Yoga Posture Basics :: Legs up the Wall / Viparita Karani

Viparita Karani or "legs up the wall" can be used in an active yoga practice, in a yin yoga or restorative yoga practice. It's a deeply nourishing pose that is very revitalizing for the lower body. It's also very calming for the nervous system.

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Yin Yoga Sphinx Pose and Yin Yoga Seal Pose with modifications

Yin Yoga Sphinx Pose and Yin Yoga Seal Pose with modifications

Sphinx pose is a backbend that helps to open the front of the body and compresses the lower spine, sacrum, and the region of the kidneys and the adrenal glands. It also activates the Kidney meridian, and the ligaments along the spine. This is a particularly important due to its connection with the reserve of Qi held in this area.

Seal pose is a deeper back bend and may not be available for everyone. Take your time. This posture not only pressurizes the spine and kidney meridian it also opens up the upper chest, strengthens the arm bones, and provides a stretch into the front of the body which is where the Spleen and Stomach meridian run. This variation is also safe to practice while pregnant.

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