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(Posted by) Tammy Williams (Founder of Yoga NRG + Mindfulness Training Australia)
The Similarities and Differences Between Yin and Yang styles of Yoga

Getting your head around all the different styles of yoga , what to expect can be challenging.

Here is a summary that may help clarify so you can make an informed choice.

Different Styles of Yoga

Keeping in mind the best way to choose is to go along and experience all styles of yoga with various teachers for yourself.

So what is the differences and similarities between Long Slow Deep Yoga , Yin Yoga , Restorative Yoga and Vinyasa / Power Yoga ?

In summary and to keep it simple, if you want to rest and restore the body a restorative yoga class is great

If you want to slow down and stretch for longer periods targeting connective tissue then Yin is great.

If you want something more dynamic, with more poses, flowing movements targeting more strength and more movement then Power Vinyasa is great.

If you want a little warm up appetizer that is not fast however prepares the body nicely to get you in to some Long Slow and Deep stretches,  stretches that target hips, hamstrings and spine, all done on the floor to help you slow down and reveal the most genuine parts of your mind then LSD Yoga can be a practice that bridges the gap between Power and Yin.

All compliment each other and I highly recommend using each of the above styles as a doorway to meditation and most of all to improve your life off the yoga mat.  It is great to learn how to self select the way you practice or the style you decide to practice according to what you are going through in life in order to compliment that and give you what you need to feel whole and healthy.

Sometimes we need to move, strengthen and use more effort and other times we need more stillness, learning to slow down and let go.

At certain times of the year for me, Long Slow Deep is the way to go for example as the silly season approaches (December) and things like social activities may amp up, or toward the end of the year you feel like you need some time to wind down or release what ever has been built up during the year.  It is the perfect class that helps lead you into stillness.

The name Long Slow Deep Yoga was coined by Bryan Kest (Founder of Power Yoga in LA)

This form of yoga was complimentary to the Power Yoga classes he was teaching. (The Yin to balance the yang)

Bryan Kest differentiates between the two broad schools of yoga by stating that generally speaking one school of yoga uses heat and dynamic movement (Power Yoga) and the other uses slowing down, patience, perseverance combined with thoroughness given the amount of time you are in the poses for (Long Slow Deep) Both use focus breathing and intention however Power Yoga for example is done as a flowing set of postures from a range of sun salutations, warrior series, balancing, twists, backbends, seated postures, floor series and savasana – there is a lot more poses in a Power Yoga Class.

Where as in Long Slow Deep there are fewer poses held for longer periods of time – all are floor type postures giving the students body time to slow down and surrender, release and let go.

What you generally don’t find in a general Yin Class is a mini warm up series. In Long Slow Deep there is an included spinal balance series which prepares the body nicely for the long stretches about to come. The beginning of this series is great for spinal strengthening and lengthening.

The philosophy behind LSD Yoga is very much a moving from of vipasana (Insight Meditation) helping you to see things more clearly.

The philosophy behind Yin Yoga can include Taoist or Chinese Medicine Approaches with a focus on the meridians as potential themes.

Like any Yoga it depends on how the teacher chooses to teach it. Some categorize LSD as Yin however in my experience the two feel different in my body and state of mind. The only way to find out is to come and practice each for yourself.

Teachers can have a different approach to the same style for example Sarah Powers may teach Yin differently to how her teacher of Yin Paul Grilley teaches it which maybe different to how Bernie Clarke teaches.  A great quote which may sum up a common understanding however maybe.

* We are not trying to use the body to get into the yoga pose, we are using the yoga pose to get into the body ~ B. Clarke 

Many of the great yogis of our time, teachers whom I’ve spent time with such as Richard Freeman are saying the same thing differently , like Yoga is the art of listening , because when you listen you give space to what ever is there to be as it is.

Dan Millman , best selling author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior and another of my mentors also taught me the value of letting things be as they are , reminding me that acceptance is one of the most intelligent decisions you can make in any given moment. Bryan Kest echoes this throughout his classes:

How can you learn from something you are pushing away or rejecting? 

For me it is this philosophy that automatically arises as a felt sense through practices like Long Slow Deep because by slowing down it gives us a chance to really witness what is going on inside and learn to be okay with it and this is when our perspective and the way we view life becomes more clear.

Basically if you want to know if the way you are practicing any form of yoga is working for you, notice how you feel after you practice and let the experience you have be the teacher.

The benefits of both LSD Yoga and Yin are :

Soothes the nervous system

Teaches us how to slow down

Lubricates the joints

Compliments yang practices

Prepares us for meditation by helping us to learn the art of stillness

Helps us to sit with what is there and to develop patience

(to name just a few from a longer list)

A great quote for contemplation from Bryan Kest to consider is

If you are that wound up that you can’t slow down then maybe you need this style of yoga more than anyone

My sincere thank you to Bryan for introducing me to Long Slow Deep Yoga and to the fact that the harder you are on anything the faster you wear it out ~ a great thing to remember for anything in life. Im grateful to have been able to host and travel with you each visit around Australia since 2010, thank you for the encouragement along the way and the inspiration in rolling out Long Slow Deep Yoga Teacher Training with adaptations from my practice on and off the yoga mat and meditation cushion.

My deepest thanks to Trudie Edwards my first Power Yoga Teacher who suggested I take Bryans class in LA back in 2006, both styles became powerful ways to add value to my Mindfulness Practice and Iyengar Yoga practice that I had been introduced to earlier.

Powerful Yoga for me is the attitude I bring to my yoga mat, and decide to make a priority in life.

The most valuable qualities in yoga are the invisible ones that don’t take on the shape of a yoga pose but more change how you feel in your heart.  Qualities that are sometimes hard to develop but yoga helps reveal them like patience, acceptance, trust and non judgement.

This for me does not happen overnight and it certainly does not mean I am patient or blissful all of the time but what I do know is when I practice Long Slow Deep something in me changes, I am not as wound up or worried, things feel more simple and at ease. It’s one thing to know you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff and another thing to find something where it’s like the charter boat add.

Problems what problems ?

Perhaps that’s where the saying below comes from.

*Meditation does not solve problems but rather dissolves the state of mind that created them in the first place.

I love yoga that much and am so passionate about it that I have not done only one style, just like the body is always changing and adapting so to is the way I may practice day to day (some days Yin other days Yang) Although the finer details are at times handy to grasp an understanding of the different styles the ultimate goal of yoga is to free you. So try not to get caught up in the Yoga wars of which is the better practice.

The reason I stay practicing is because it makes me feel good.

This has the best ripple effect to everyone I care about and love in my life.

To view the a comprehensive comparison on Yin, Power, Restorative & L.S.D. Yoga click the following link:

Yoga Styles Comparison Table 

Regardless of the style of Yoga you practice , is your yoga helping you to enjoy your life and increase your capacity to love, if yes then keep practicing it.

Namaste

Tammy

 

Click here to Book for Long Slow Deep Yoga Teacher Training with Tammy Williams

** We also have our Mindful Restorative Yoga 90 minute Sunday Sesh with Katie this Sunday ~ limited spaces available – Click here to book 

 

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