The Difference between Restorative and Yin Yoga

by Hang Nhan & Sarah Martin of saigon om

“What is the difference between Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga? Aren’t they the same?"

This is a question we get asked often. The simple answer is no. Restorative yoga and yin yoga are two very powerful and yet different physical practices. Sometimes they are confused because both practices are slow and methodical, with long-held poses (2 to 10 minutes).

Physically they are very different. How? Let’s explore these differences.


Yin yoga 

In yin yoga, the practice targets the connective tissues, such as ligaments, bones and joints. Because of the stillness and time spent in the poses, the practice can be challenging and empowering on a physical, mental and emotional level. Yin also focuses on opening the meridians or internal energetic pathways of the body.

Restorative Yoga


Restorative yoga on the other hand, focuses on muscle relaxation. It is a calming and gentle style of yoga that uses props (bolsters, blocks and blankets) to fully support the body. This healing yoga practice restores energy in the body, releases long-held tension, and facilitates stillness and calm. Some yogis refer to restorative yoga as the dessert of a buffet. Hang and I like to call it ‘hidden meditation’. as it allows the body and mind to rest

We need both practices for our busy lives

Both restorative yoga and yin yoga are beautiful practices and much needed in our busy lives. We encourage you to find these classes at your local studio. If you’re interested in deepening your practice or would like to learn how to teach yin or restorative, join saigon om at one of their upcoming trainings.

This article was originally posted on saigon om’s website on 8 April, 2019.

about the authors


saigon om is a holistic wellness school offering teacher training and retreats in yoga, mindfulness, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Reiki and massage in Canada, Australia and South-East Asia.

Connect with saigon om on their website, Facebook and Instagram.