Think of Vinyasa yoga as a flow, where all things are interconnected. As you seamlessly move from one pose to the other, you find clarity and peace. Vinyasa is a beautiful type of yoga practice. It attempts to give those who practice it a purpose in life, helping them to do every single thing with intention. The moves happen in time with the breath, deeply nourishing the body while giving it the fuel it needs to move from pose to pose. From a technical perspective, Vinyasa can be considered an aerobic exercise. What sets it aside from other styles of yoga, is the synchronization of movement and breath. The opening or upward movement is usually accompanied by an inhale, while exhales are performed on the way down. An example of a synchronized sequence is Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation):
- Inhale – Upward – Urdhva Hastasana
- Exhale – Downward – Uttanasana
- Inhale – Forward – Ardha Uttanasana
- Exhale – Downward – Chaturanga Dandasana
- Inhale – Forward – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
- Exhale – Downward – Adho Mukha Svanasana
In a similar fashion to Ashtanga, Vinyasa yoga features some repetition. It’s a fast-paced practice that will make your heart beat faster. That’s why to some people, Vinyasa is a form of sequenced exercise. But in reality, it is much more than that.
History of Vinyasa Yoga
The origins of this practice root back to the Vedic age (1500 – 500 BC). Although it was common at the time, it truly grew popular in the 20th century. The rise in popularity was due to the discovery of sacred texts that taught the Vinyasa way: flowing between poses while breathing simultaneously. As it made its way into the Western world, Vinyasa structure became more loose, giving students the freedom to practice freestyle sequences. Although it retains a lot of its original purpose, modern Vinyasa has flourished into an independent yoga style.
Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa yoga has many benefits for the body and mind. While it challenges the body to keep moving, it causes the mind to be still. Because of this juxtaposition, Vinyasa practitioners are strong, flexible, and resilient individuals. The ability to balance thoughts, breath, and movement alleviates stress and clears the clouded mind. The flow is usually powerful and dynamic, building a strong core to move swiftly through the practice. These power-packed movements make multiple areas of the body work together, which in turn speeds up the metabolic rate and fires up the body’s energy production. With frequent and consistent practice, you can enjoy the benefit of clearer thoughts, better posture, higher endurance, and, overall, a more positive outlook on life. Vinyasa teaches more than just a combination of yoga poses. It teaches the concept of mindful movement and living, guiding practitioners to recognize their purpose in life.