Vinyasa yoga is a discipline that utilizes postures and breathing techniques. This form of yoga offers a range of health benefits to those who practice it, as it encompasses all areas of mind, body and spirit.
Vinyasa yoga is often faster paced, and the asanas (postures) are linked together in a series of movements that are synchronized with the breath. Much emphasis is placed on the breath and the transition in and out of the asanas. Upward movements correlate with inhalations of the breath, and downward movements with exhalations.
The continual movements, from one pose to another, gives you an added cardiovascular benefit, which more traditional forms of yoga do not have. The routine practice of vinyasa yoga can increase muscle strength, endurance and flexibility, and reduce levels of stress.
Vinyasa yoga offers much diversity. The pace can vary and there is no one particular sequence that instructors must follow. In fact, the name vinyasa is a Sanskrit word that translates as “variations within parameters.” This flexibility allows the teacher to tailor the sequences to their own philosophy.
The word “vinyasa” can be translated as “arranging something in a special way,” like yoga poses for example. In vinyasa yoga classes, students coordinate movement with breath to flow from one pose to the next. Ashtanga, Baptiste Yoga, Jivamukti, Power Yoga, and Prana Flow could all be considered vinyasa yoga.
Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga:
- You stay focused by going with the flow.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Vinyasa Flow” when referring to this type of yoga. Vinyasa Flow refers to the way this style keeps you moving from asana to asana, linking each pose to an inhale and an exhale. Instructors keep the flow of movements smooth and continuous, which can help you stay present during the session. If you find your mind wandering off in the down-time between poses or sequences, Vinyasa yoga is for you.
- It’s all about variety.
Vinyasa has a lot in common with Ashtanga yoga, which also links continuous sequence through the breath. But while Ashtanga uses a proscribed sequence of poses that’s taught the same way in every class, Vinyasa is a lot more flexible. Instructors are totally free to mix up the order of the poses, or throw in something new and unexpected. This “no rules” approach to yoga means you’ll never fall into the slump that can set in when you repeat the same routine over and over..
- It pushes you to your limits.
Though “Vinyasa Flow” might sound easy and relaxing, this style can actually push your physical limits. This style incorporates elements from all schools of yoga, so even if you’ve mastered those Iyengar standing poses, you’ll find yourself in all new territory when the instructors throws in a Anusara inversion. You’ll push the limits of your strength, flexibility, and balance with Vinyasa yoga.
- It gives you great cardio.
Cardio is an important part of any fitness routine. The continuous sequence of Vinyasa yoga is great for getting your heart going, even when the pace is relatively slow. The only ‘break’ you’ll get is in resting poses like Downward Dog, which will lead right into another, more challenging pose. This style of yoga is great for working up a sweat.
- It’s perfect for beginners.
Since Vinyasa is so diverse, it’s easy to find classes tailored specifically to beginners that will still provide a healthy challenge. This style is also a great way to learn the basics of pranayama, or yogic breathing, since the instructor will tell you when to inhale and exhale during each pose. This style is a great way to learn the skills you need to build a strong foundation for a more advanced yoga practice.