Yin vs Restorative Yoga-What’s The Difference?

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In this episode, I’ll go over the difference between Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga.

Yin versus restorative, same, same, but different?

So one of the reasons I think this is important to talk about is because there’s often confusion between these two styles, both with the teachers and with students.

And so if you are a teacher or a studio owner who has never taken specific, specialized training in either Yin Yoga or Restorative Yoga, then I can see how these might be confused as interchangeable.

Although these two styles can look very similar from the outside, from the inside, they are very different practices.

They have different intentions. They feel different physically, mentally, and energetically.

Both are beautiful practices. I love and practice them both.

I teach them both. But when you’re teaching yin and restorative, I think it’s important to define the difference clearly.

They’re both beautiful practices, but labelling them as the same does them both a disservice.

So when teaching yin and restorative, let’s be clear on how we define each style.


Yin vs Restorative Yoga Listen

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Yin vs Restorative Yoga Read

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Hi Yannis.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and welcome back to a Yin Yoga. Podcast

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Nyk Danu Yoga: if you’re new around here, welcome, welcome, please come in, kick off your shoes, grab a tea, stay for a while, or if you’re on your walk, or

00:00:13.650 –> 00:00:24.229
Nyk Danu Yoga: being in your house, or doing your commute, whatever it is, welcome. If you are not new. If you’ve been around for a while, like all of the first season.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: welcome back. This is the first episode. If you’re listening to this live of season 2. So this is January 2024.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Wow! Can’t believe it’s 2024,

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and if you are listening to this live this will be the second season.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: If you have been listening to this podcast throughout the first season, and you have been finding value in it. If you’ve had Aha! Moments, or especially as teachers. If there’s things that I’ve shared that are directly helping you in your classes, I would be so grateful if you would just take a moment to pause this right now

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Nyk Danu Yoga: go into whatever app you’re listening to it on. So whether that’s spotify or apple.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and give it 5 stars

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Nyk Danu Yoga: or on apple, a written review, or both.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: This really helps this little 2 min thing that you could do for me

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Nyk Danu Yoga: really helps the podcast show up more in the algorithm. Right? So the more reviews and comments and

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Nyk Danu Yoga: written reviews a podcast gets the more likely that apple or spotify, or whoever is going to be to show this to new people. So the way that we can spread the Yin love

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Nyk Danu Yoga: is to play the game of the algorithm.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Okay? And if you are watching this on Youtube. And, by the way, those of you listening, did you know, you can always watch the completely unedited version on Youtube. It’s true. If you’re watching this on Youtube, if you wouldn’t mind taking a moment to subscribe if you haven’t already and like this video and please feel free to leave me a comment, especially if you’ve got

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Nyk Danu Yoga: things you’d like me to talk about on the podcast let me know in the comments

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Nyk Danu Yoga: so that I can add those to the list.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: Okay? So if you wouldn’t mind taking a moment to.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: you know, leave 5 stars. Leave a written review. If you’re on apple.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: If you’re on Youtube like and comment and subscribe, I would be super grateful. Okay, let’s get into today’s episode.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So

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Nyk Danu Yoga: this episode is about restorative versus Yin Yoga. So yin yoga and restorative, same same, but different.

00:02:46.980 –> 00:02:54.869
Nyk Danu Yoga: This is one of the most common questions I get from Yoga teachers and the general public as well. What’s the difference between restorative and yin?

00:02:54.940 –> 00:03:09.330
Nyk Danu Yoga: So we’re going to break that down today. just a heads up. Anyone watching this on Youtube? I do have notes, so you may see me looking up at the camera and back at my notes again. And this is because I have add, and so if I don’t have notes I will talk in a circle.

00:03:09.640 –> 00:03:14.180
Nyk Danu Yoga: and I won’t forget to come back to the beginning. So these are to keep me on track.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: So let’s get into this, shall we?

00:03:19.230 –> 00:03:23.230
Nyk Danu Yoga: Yin versus restorative, same same, but different.

00:03:26.940 –> 00:03:34.710
Nyk Danu Yoga: So one of the reasons that I think that this is really important to talk about is because there’s often confusion

00:03:36.110 –> 00:03:40.150
Nyk Danu Yoga: between these 2 styles, as I mentioned, either with the teacher

00:03:40.890 –> 00:03:54.759
Nyk Danu Yoga: or with students. And so, if you are a teacher or studio owner who has never taken specific specialized training in either yin yoga or restorative Yoga.

00:03:54.960 –> 00:03:59.819
Nyk Danu Yoga: Then I can see how these might be confused as interchangeable.

00:04:04.130 –> 00:04:18.200
Nyk Danu Yoga: Although these 2 styles can look very similar from the outside. from the inside they are very different practices. They have different intentions. they feel different physically, mentally, and energetically.

00:04:19.300 –> 00:04:33.920
Nyk Danu Yoga: Both are beautiful practices. I love and practice them both. I teach them both, not currently teaching restorative right now, but I have taught many restorative classes, and would love to again when the right circumstance allows.

00:04:35.280 –> 00:04:42.059
Nyk Danu Yoga: So when you’re teaching yin and restorative, I think it’s really important to define the difference here.

00:04:42.270 –> 00:04:48.870
Nyk Danu Yoga: They’re both beautiful practices, but labelling them as the same does both of them a disservice.

00:04:50.630 –> 00:04:57.179
Nyk Danu Yoga: So when teaching both yin and restorative, we want to be really clear on how we’re defining each style.

00:04:57.820 –> 00:05:14.910
Nyk Danu Yoga: So I’m gonna give you my definitions of what restorative is and what yin Yoga is, just so that we’re all on the same page here. But just know these are my definitions. Right? The yogaverse is a bit of the wild Wild West out there, and so there are people that will define these things differently

00:05:15.240 –> 00:05:25.599
Nyk Danu Yoga: sometimes, just because they don’t know that there are some sort of industry, industry, standard definitions, and sometimes out of pure rebellion. But either way, this is how I’m going to define them.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: My definition of restorative Yoga has its roots in the Ayangar Yoga tradition could be said as the pioneer of restorative Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and via Judith Hanson Lassiter, who is commonly known in Yoga circles as the Queen of Restorative Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: and so, if you have not, if you’re a younger teacher, and you have not heard of Judith Hanson Lasseter. I highly recommend you. Check out some of her books. She’s got so many books. She’s well-versed In restorative Yoga.

00:05:58.650 –> 00:06:10.929
Nyk Danu Yoga: You can even get a ton of them from the library. So if restorative. Yoga is something that you wanna learn and teach start by practicing it, using her books, and then get a good solid, restorative training

00:06:11.250 –> 00:06:17.409
Nyk Danu Yoga: before you start offering it. This is Judith’s definition of restorative Yoga.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: I reached out to her several years ago because I was writing a blog post on this topic, and I thought, well, who better to define restorative Yoga than the Queen of Restorative? Yoga? So here is Judith’s definition

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Nyk Danu Yoga: restorative. Yoga is the use of props to support the body in positions of comfort and ease.

00:06:40.620 –> 00:06:43.440
Nyk Danu Yoga: To facilitate relaxation and health

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Nyk Danu Yoga: restorative. Yoga is about opening.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: not about stretching.

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Nyk Danu Yoga: A few of the poses might create a slight stretch. But stretching is not the intention at all.

00:07:00.850 –> 00:07:04.129
Nyk Danu Yoga: so I feel like that could use some repeating

00:07:08.310 –> 00:07:18.069
Nyk Danu Yoga: specifically these parts so restorative. Yoga is the use of props to support the body in positions of comfort and ease. Let’s tease those words out for a moment.

00:07:18.170 –> 00:07:24.320
Nyk Danu Yoga: Comfort and ease to facilitate relaxation and health

00:07:24.980 –> 00:07:33.929
Nyk Danu Yoga: restorative. Yoga is about opening, not stretching restorative. Yoga is about opening, not stretching.

00:07:34.530 –> 00:07:45.670
Nyk Danu Yoga: A few of the poses might create a slight stretch. but stretching is not the intention at all. So the reason I keep kind of banging on this drum

00:07:46.090 –> 00:08:12.059
Nyk Danu Yoga: is because this is some of the key differences, and I will say, anybody who has trained with Judith, or anybody who has practiced with somebody who has been trained with Judith will know that, even though she says some might create a slight stretch. If, as a student in one of those classes, you were to say, you’re feeling a straight stretch, they would just go put more stuff under you, put more blankets, more bolsters. They’d put little things under your wrists so that you are completely

00:08:12.160 –> 00:08:19.890
Nyk Danu Yoga: settled, relaxed, and feel like sort of like you’re being held in a cloud so that you can totally let go in your body.

00:08:23.620 –> 00:08:25.890
Nyk Danu Yoga: So from the outside.

00:08:25.990 –> 00:08:31.280
Nyk Danu Yoga: if you think that as soon as you use a yoga bolster, you’re doing restorative, Yoga.

00:08:31.520 –> 00:08:36.450
Nyk Danu Yoga: which is not the case. I can understand how restorative Yoga

00:08:36.570 –> 00:08:39.350
Nyk Danu Yoga: and Yin might look similar to you.

00:08:39.570 –> 00:08:42.999
Nyk Danu Yoga: But from the inside they are very different experiences.

00:08:44.300 –> 00:08:56.699
Nyk Danu Yoga: And, dear Yoga, teacher, if you’re listening to this right now, and you did believe that as soon as you do use a yoga bolster or a blanket in a yoga class that you’re doing restorative. Yoga, please don’t feel called out.

00:08:56.980 –> 00:09:07.150
Nyk Danu Yoga: This is a common misunderstanding in styles and teachers. That were trained in styles of yoga that don’t have a lot of accessibility.

00:09:07.700 –> 00:09:18.059
Nyk Danu Yoga: and that don’t use a lot of props. So if your first teacher training didn’t have a focus on making poses accessible for a wide variety of students and bodies.

00:09:18.490 –> 00:09:28.609
Nyk Danu Yoga: and they didn’t include props in your training. I can understand why you might think that when a yoga bolster comes out it’s suddenly restorative, Yoga, but that is not the case.

00:09:29.160 –> 00:09:36.719
Nyk Danu Yoga: All props can be used in any style of yoga to help a student get more comfortable

00:09:37.220 –> 00:09:40.310
Nyk Danu Yoga: to make the pose even possible.

00:09:41.220 –> 00:09:48.250
Nyk Danu Yoga: Some students can’t do certain poses without props, and guess what they never will be able to because of their bone structure.

00:09:49.370 –> 00:09:57.929
Nyk Danu Yoga: So if you come from the styles of Yoga, where you were taught that props are for people who can’t do, and I’m doing. Air quotes can’t do the full pose.

00:09:58.260 –> 00:10:03.949
Nyk Danu Yoga: or when you use a prop, it’s because you have the goal of eventually someday not using the prop.

00:10:04.210 –> 00:10:14.829
Nyk Danu Yoga: Or if, when you pull a bolster or a blanket off the prop shelf, you’re suddenly doing restorative. Yoga. none of these things are true. These are just yogaverse myths

00:10:15.520 –> 00:10:20.929
Nyk Danu Yoga: depending on someone’s individual skeletal structure. And if you have not

00:10:20.950 –> 00:10:25.609
Nyk Danu Yoga: watched Paul Grilley’s presentation anatomy for Yoga, where he breaks down

00:10:25.640 –> 00:10:41.919
Nyk Danu Yoga: bone structure, and how different we all are! There’s a link in the show notes to that. If you are a Yoga teacher, I cannot recommend that you watch that enough. It is not yin specific. It will affect every style of Yoga that you teach. So if you have not seen that.

00:10:42.080 –> 00:10:44.020
Nyk Danu Yoga: Please take a moment

00:10:44.050 –> 00:10:47.119
Nyk Danu Yoga: to buy that and watch that there’s a link in the show notes.

00:10:47.400 –> 00:10:58.769
Nyk Danu Yoga: So if we acknowledge that we’re all different, we’re all of different bodies. different body proportions, different injuries, issues, skeletal variations, needs goals, etc.

00:10:58.920 –> 00:11:07.729
Nyk Danu Yoga: Then this is why we can use props. We use props to make the shapes accessible to a wider range of students.

00:11:08.510 –> 00:11:19.059
Nyk Danu Yoga: So I’m saying this because I know that there’s a lot of people out there, and I see it all the time in my yin classes, where I get everybody to get all the props that we’re going to use, and I recommend the props

00:11:19.220 –> 00:11:25.209
Nyk Danu Yoga: in the shapes, and I’ll see sometimes that people are like hesitant to use a strap or hesitant to use a block.

00:11:25.530 –> 00:11:37.259
Nyk Danu Yoga: And it’s because they’ve been in Yoga classes where they’ve been told. Oh, if you can’t do the and I’m doing air quotes here full pose, or the complete prose, or the full expression of the pose, then grab a block.

00:11:38.050 –> 00:11:44.569
Nyk Danu Yoga: and I just think that as a as an industry, we need to stop doing that. That’s a rant for another time.

00:11:44.800 –> 00:11:52.960
Nyk Danu Yoga: But just know, dear Yoga, teacher, if you’re listening to this, and you’re like, Wait, what props aren’t just for the people who can’t do the full pose? No, they are not.

00:11:53.670 –> 00:11:59.629
Nyk Danu Yoga: and that just because a blanket and a bolster comes out does not mean that this is now a restorative class.

00:12:00.280 –> 00:12:05.309
Nyk Danu Yoga: These are ways to get people more comfortable and to make the practice more accessible.

00:12:06.620 –> 00:12:13.989
Nyk Danu Yoga: So okay, rant over from the outside, yin and restorative can look similar. But from the inside, they couldn’t feel more different.

00:12:14.150 –> 00:12:19.340
Nyk Danu Yoga: So, although we could say that restorative Yoga is yin like in nature.

00:12:20.140 –> 00:12:40.340
Nyk Danu Yoga: and if you’re like what wait, I thought you just said they’re different. Why are you saying yin like in nature? I’m talking about yin as a concept, not yin is a style of yoga, and if you’re not really up on yin and Yang theory, I have a whole episode that I did on that in season one. I will link it in the description. You can listen to that to get a better understanding of this concept of Yin and Yang

00:12:40.640 –> 00:12:50.729
Nyk Danu Yoga: so restorative. Yoga is yin-like in nature, but when I’m using the term yin yoga. Throughout this episode I’m referring to the yin yoga that was taught by Paul grilling.

00:12:51.640 –> 00:13:02.299
Nyk Danu Yoga: So just a couple laying of the land things before we get into what are the similarities? What are the differences, etc., is that



Therapeutic Yin Yoga Training Join The Wait List:

Join my Yin Yoga Classes on Zoom

Subscribe to my On-Demand Video Library

Anatomy For Yoga By Paul Grilley


Mentioned in this Episode:

The Queen of Restorative Judith Hanson Lasater

Episode on Interoception

Episode on Yin Yang Philosophy

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