Yesterday I read this article by Bernie Clark talking about the difference between Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga. It was an interesting read and I agreed with most of what he said. To the best of my knowledge Bernie teaches Yin Yoga not Restorative Yoga but I might be wrong about that. Because the two seem so similar from the outside though he has obviously gotten the same question I often get. “What is the difference between Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga“.
In interest of keeping this post short I won’t get into what I believe the differences are. His article does a great job of explaining this. However I will talk a little about what I don’t agree with in his piece. Namely this: “Restorative Yoga is a form of practice directed towards students who are injured, stressed or ill, who need a very gentle practice and who are looking to regain the quality of life that they used to have, but have lost.”
This is the opinion I had about Restorative for many years. It was where you went when you were broken. It was the “loser class” for wimps and stress bags. My opinion has changed. Rest and calm times are incredibly important for most of us and in reality this “non doing state” is incredibly undervalued in our society. Many people don’t even know they are stressed. We applaud over productivity in our culture. It is the norm to be busy all the time. I even see this opinion in the yoga community. We need to be doing, gaining, getting deeper, finding edges, pushing. But we don’t. Really. At least not all the time.
In general I think our culture has lost the art of rest. Restorative yoga is about stopping. It is a directed conscious relaxation which is different than watching T.V. or reading a book. It a place where we can find the pauses between our thoughts and it is for everyone, sick or healthy.