Vinyasa may be a sort of yoga characterized by stringing postures together in order that you progress from one to a different, seamlessly, using breath. Commonly mentioned as “flow” yoga, it’s sometimes confused with “power yoga“.
Vinyasa classes offer a spread of postures and no two classes are ever alike. The opposite would be “fixed forms” like Bikram Yoga, which features an equivalent 26 postures in every class, or Ashtanga which has an equivalent sequence whenever.
Vinyasa Yoga helps to develop a more balanced body and prevent repetitive motion injuries that can happen if you are always doing the same thing every day.
In Vinyas yoga we enter into a posture, are there for a short time then leave.
While Vinyasa, or Vinyasa-Krama, dates back to the Vedic age—the earliest period of yoga thousands of years ago—it referred to a series, or sequence of steps, to make something sacred.
The movement practice of Vinyasa is said to begin with T Krishnamacharya who has had the largest influence on how yoga, in general, is practiced today.
Put all this together and Vinyasa, may be a breath initiated practice, that connects every action of our life with the intention of moving towards what’s sacred, or most vital to us.
While Vinyasa Yoga is one of the most popular forms of the practice in the world today, it is not well understood.
“The Sanskrit word Vinyasa comes from a prefix vi, which suggests variation, and a suffix, nyasa, which suggests ‘within prescribed parameters.’” Srivatsa Ramaswami, student of Krishnamacharya for quite thirty years.
- Vinyasa Yoga connects one posture to the next using the breath. This can be thought of as linking or flowing into postures which is usually why it’s called “Flow Yoga”. The opposite of this is able to be an alignment based class where students engage with a posture, explore it for a period of your time then “break the posture” by coming out.
- “Transitions” are what connect one posture to another in Vinyasa. They are the in-between part. To move during a more graceful, connected way, allot even as much time developing skill within the transitions as you are doing within the asana.
- Vinyasa is synonymous with movement. Moving in and out of postures is that the obvious movement but even in stillness Vinyasa is represented by the beat of your heart and inhale/exhale of your breath.
- Ujjayi Breath is the breathing technique used. It is done by inhaling and exhaling during a rhythmic manner through the nose. The overall sensation is one of relaxation.
- Vinyasa practice generates heat and can add a cardiovascular component not always present in other forms of postural practice.