What is Vinyasa Flow yoga?

Let’s start with what is yoga? There are many ways to describe yoga. I like the description of yoga as the union of the mind and body through the breath. Vinyasa flow is a form of yoga that connects asana’s (yoga poses) together through a flow. The most important part of doing vinyasa yoga is linking your breath with your movement to create that union. 

The origin of vinyasa Flow or Flow yoga is in Ashtanga yoga which was my first yoga I came into contact with. In Ashtanga yoga poses have been put together in a fixed way, a sequence. This sequence, made famous by Pattabhi Jois, is repeated in every class – in the same way. In a vinyasa flow class I do vary the sequence and the emphasis, usually via a theme or focus. It’s a very aerobic style of yoga as you are creating warmth in the muscles – so strictly (preferably!!) no water drinking during yoga as that would cool your system down again. 

What is the vinyasa itself? Vinyasa is the linking of one asana to the next  in a serpentine flow . There are different variations possible depending on your fitness level, injuries or energetic level during that practice. Simply waiting for the next asana or sitting cross legged and pushing up, if you have less energy. More experienced practitioners might be floating to get to Chaturanga from sitting. This is all from “Ashtanga yoga Practice Manual’ by David Swenson who I trained with many times. Adding a vinyasa sequence between poses provides a flowing, dance-like quality to our yoga practice. For me the most preferred one is as follows. The base is sun salutations and the Vinyasa itself are the poses before the down dog so thats below 4 steps:

  1. INHALE – Plank pose
  2. EXHALE – Knees-chest-chin or whole body down (Chaturanga)
  3. INHALE – Cobra pose
  4. EXHALE – Downward facing dog

See you on the mat? Look at my schedule of classes here.

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