Frequently asked questions about yoga styles, including their similarities, differences and benefits

This past week, a friend of mine asked what is the difference between Yin Yoga and Gentle Somatic Yoga?

It got me to thinking about all the different styles of yoga that I have been trained in and how I ended up being drawn to Gentle Somatic Yoga and Yin Yoga.

Let me give you a bit of the basics about Yin and a comparison between Yin, Gentle Somatic Yoga, and another style of yoga I am certified in, Restorative Yoga. Since my last two blogs focused on Gentle Somatic Yoga, I won’t include a lot of details about that style here. If you missed those articles, see them on my blog by clicking here.

Yin Yoga has different origins than many other traditional styles of yoga.  It was developed by people who were following and practicing forms of martial arts, Taoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  In Yin, we speak about meridian lines of energy and moving Chi as opposed to using the words Prana, Marmas and Nadis in yoga that was developed thousands of years ago in India.  

Comparisons of Yin, Gentle Somatic Yoga and Restorative Yoga!

Here are a few basic tenets of Yin Yoga and how they compare with Restorative Yoga and Gentle Somatic Yoga. 

    • In Yin, you are encouraged to hold a pose for a length of time from 3-10 minutes. This is different than Restorative Yoga, in which you hold the pose for up to 20 minutes. Also, it’s different from Gentle Somatic Yoga, where you do not hold a pose at all, but move in and out of a pose.
    • In Yin, you are encouraged to come to the edge of the pose (different for everyone), which means you are feeling sensation but not pain. This is similar to Gentle Somatic Yoga, but different than Restorative Yoga, where you are not to feel anything but total comfort.
    • In Yin, you are encouraged to be as still as possible and focus on your breath and any sensations you are experiencing objectively. This is similar to Restorative Yoga, but in Gentle Somatic Yoga, we encourage small movements and a “letting go” of any control of the breath during the short flows.
    • In Yin, we are either strengthening or releasing blockages from organ system meridian lines such as the liver meridian, kidney meridian or stomach meridian. In Restorative we are focusing on relaxing the nervous system, and in Gentle Somatic Yoga we focus on both the nervous system and brain-to-muscle communication to restore range of motion. 
    • In Yin, we are strengthening joints and releasing chronically held tension within the fascial tissues. In Gentle Somatic Yoga, we release chronically held tension in muscles and fascial tissues but do not focus on strengthening. In Restorative, we are trying to completely release all physical and emotional tension in the body by learning to completely relaxNone of these styles focus on stretching muscles.
Here is a sample 11 minute video to demonstrate how Yin and Gentle Somatic Yoga together can heal the gut!

I Offer Online Gentle Somatic Yoga/Yin Classes Twice A Week On Zoom!

I hope this short summary helps you better understand some of the similarities, differences and complimentary nature of these three styles of yoga.  Every Tuesday and Thursday I mix these styles together to create completely new and different healing classes designed to help you “Age Vibrantly No Matter What You Are Facing.”  Find out more here.

If you have not checked out my Free Video for Low Back and Hip health, sign up below for 5 simple, accessible, and short Gentle Somatic Yoga flows that will help you feel better.  If you want to sample my Yin classes, you can find one on my YouTube Channel.  





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