Wipe the corner of your lip. And, yes, that was you snoring. But, don't worry, your yoga teacher has heard it all before. Well, at least they have if they guide a practice on the lunar side.
Yin-quality practices are no longer on the fringe. Mainstream studios are adding Yin, Yoga Nidra and restorative classes to the schedules, and you may be surprised to find that yogis of all ages, and athletes from other disciplines, love these slow practices. In fact I recently read an article about a corporate gym offering NAP CLASS (yep.)
To day, at all of my yoga retreats restorative yoga, Yin and Nidra have specifically been requested. I expect the same for in my upcoming retreat to Hawaii. A melty, drooly practice will be the perfect compliment to our hikes and excursions. But, just because the lights are low, the movement is slow (or non-existent), and you could do any of these in your jammies, Yin, Nidra and restorative yoga are not all the same.
So where to begin? Well, when it comes to selecting a practice that compliments our cooler side of practices getting familiar with a few basic styles. Restorative yoga, yin, and Yin (with a capital Y) and Nidra are distinctly different practices with unique outcomes. For the most part studios these days are most often offering hybrid classes that bring in the benefits of Yin with the sweetness of restorative yoga, and often it comes with a pairing of meditation and sometimes a more formal offering of Nidra. Here's a quick run down of the differences, benefits, and what you can do to find the right yin to your yang ...
Yin - as a quality of practice.
Yin is the complimentary opposite to Yang. If you consider yang the active, movement based yoga you are familiar with, yin is it's cooler sister. Yang yoga emphasizes muscles, dynamic movement, and building heat. Yin, on the other side, emphasizes bones, tendons, ligaments, fascia and cooler, grounded practices. It can be considered that Yin and Yang are present, to some degree, in every pose.
Yin - as a style.
Yin (with a capital Y) is a style of yoga brought to contemporary yoga by masters including Pauley Zink, Paul Grilley, and Sarah Powers. Sometimes also called Taoist or Chinese Yoga, this style considers the meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine as a road map, and emphasizes applying stress on joints to affect the bones, ligaments, tendons and fascia. Poses are held for a long period of time and while some poses can feel quite restorative in nature, other Yin poses can be quite intense.
Restorative yoga definitely has yin quality, but unlike the style of Yin, it does not seek to stretch or stress the physical body. Instead props are used to set the body to find ease and release in every pose so that the practitioner can rest and restore. Think about finding a savasana-like experience in every pose!
Yoga Nidra - The Yogi's Sleep
Nap yoga! Not really. But if you peeked into a room of students practicing Nidra you'd likely assume they were all just taking their siesta. Nidra is a guided meditation practice that offers a systematic exploration of relaxation
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