What Makes Restorative Yoga Different?

There are a lot of yoga styles out there. Some popular ones include Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Hatha. So what is Restorative Yoga and what makes it different? In this post, we’ll take a look at the key features of Restorative Yoga and how it differs from other popular styles. Stay tuned!


Yin Yoga focuses on stretching the deep connective tissues in our bodies (ligaments, tendons, and fascia), rather than the more superficial muscle tissue. While the approach may seem simple — holding floor-based postures for several minutes — the results are transformative. Yin Yoga offers an exceptional means to ease and release deeply held tension in the physical body and unleash stagnant or blocked energy. Following a Yin Yoga practice, you feel as if you have space inside and are a great deal lighter too!

Yin Yoga may be slow, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It can be a deep practice of presence, surrender, and of showing up to do the deep work that needs to be done. Physically, depending on the posture, it can feel much more challenging than a faster-paced, more yang, practice. The physical discomfort that sets in after approximately 1 to 2 minutes in the pose is confronting. This discomfort, however unpleasant it can be, is necessary and contributes to the transformative effects of Yin Yoga on our connective tissue and fascia.

Differences Between Yin and Restorative Yoga

Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga are often considered to be similar practices, but there are many differences between the two.


Both styles may use props, however, in Yin Yoga, they are used to either help you come into a more beneficial alignment, to deepen the pose, or on the other hand side to prevent you from going too deep into the stretch. In Restorative Yoga, props are used to completely support your body. Usually, Restorative Yoga will use far more props than Yin Yoga, which may include straps, blankets, blocks, sandbags, and especially bolsters.


Yin Yoga poses are held for about 3-5 minutes, sometimes even 7 minutes if students are experienced. In Restorative Yoga, poses are held for anywhere from 5-10 minutes.


In Yin Yoga, there is an active stretch but in Restorative Yoga, the goal is to be 100% supported and passive with no active stretch.

Which style fits whom?

While Restorative Yoga focuses on restoring bodies with particular ailments, Yin yoga works deep into the connective tissues to activate change. A great practice if you are feeling stuck, stiff, need to let go or are very busy. Yin Yoga is a very effective way to increase or maintain flexibility as it focuses on the areas around the joints. Regular practice will lubricate joints, release the fascia of the body, and greatly complement your yang practices (Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga).

Restorative yoga helps an unhealthy body, or an injured body, restore itself back to the best it can be. Therefore, if you have had a recent injury or have been unwell, this practice is for you. Restorative Yoga supports a body in need of healing. Yin Yoga activates change at a very deep level in an already healthy body to increase performance.

The most interesting aspect of both these styles of yoga is they teach you to feel. Rather than rushing through asanas from breath to breath, Restorative and Yin Yoga both cultivate a powerful inner awareness. You notice sensations in the body and the energy running through it. You become aware of subtle changes in the body and mind, during the practice and in daily life too!

Both Yin and Restorative Yoga are a great balance to the busyness of life and strong yang yoga practices. They both support the deeper aspects of yoga, the mental, emotional and pranic bodies.

If you’re looking for a yoga class that will help you restore and relax, look no further than restorative yoga. This type of yoga is perfect if you’re dealing with stress or anxiety, or if you just need to take some time for yourself. Restorative yoga can be gentle enough for beginners, but it’s also challenging enough to provide a good workout. If you’re interested in trying out this unique form of yoga, give us a call today. We would be happy to introduce you to the basics and answer any questions you may have.



Do You Need Restorative Yoga Classes You Can Trust?

Restorative classes at Yoga Flow SF are simply amazing. Our instructors’ energy during the class is infectious, making it an empowering experience for all levels of practitioners—from beginner to advanced. We offer modifications that simplify the poses to be more suitable for beginners or some that amplify them for our advanced practitioners so you can choose which one is better suited based on your skill level! Specifically, restorative yoga encourages physical, mental, and emotional relaxation. Book your first class now at one of our San Francisco locations or our new location in downtown Walnut Creek!





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