Vinyasa, also called ‘flow’, is a modern style of yoga that is born out of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga tradition. This popular contemporary style of yoga is a broad classification that encompasses different kinds including Ashtanga and power yoga. The Ashtanga Vinyasa tradition is based on the teachings of Sri Krishnamacharya. He taught that the movements between each asana should be considered as important as the postures. His idea to deepen concentration and body consciousness throughout the entire practice was aiming at keeping the deep breathing and body consciousness consistent throughout all the movements during practice. Modern Vinyasa Yoga is portrayed as freestyle Ashtanga Vinyasa as it doesn’t stick onto the rigid structure of the Ashtanga Vinyasa series set out by K. Pattabhi Jois. It is interpreted as a practice with a theme consisting of linked together.
The term Vinyasa is a combination of two words; Vi, meaning ‘specially’, and Nyasa which means ‘attention’. Vinyasa can hence be interpreted as ‘Special attention’.
Vinyasa Yoga poses links one posture to another using breath flowing into each other and this is why it is popularly known as ‘Flow Yoga’. The opposite of Vinyasa Yoga is mostly classical styles such as Hatha Yoga. In this, the students come into an asana, stay steady and then break the posture.
The transition from one asana to the next is initiated from breath which might become deeper due to physical activity, but ideally, it should remain regular through the nose. This creates a rhythm and timing that link the postures. Krishnamacharya used to travel from town to town performing yoga for his students. He instructed his students to breathe deeper and to move in synchrony. With a slight construction in the throat, it is called ‘Ocean Breath’ or ‘Ujjayi Breathing’.
It also involves intense movements and gives rise to a cardiovascular work-out which would not be present in other forms of yoga asana practices.
Vinyasa Yoga practice is all about intense movements and creates a cardiovascular work-out that is not always present in other forms of yoga asana practice.
Another important characteristic of Vinyasa Flow classes is the variation in sequence from class to class which cannot be alike.
Due to its intensity and variety Vinyasa Yoga requires intense focus and practicing it can bring a state that can be described as moving meditation.
Vinyasa Yoga helps build and maintain strong bones, muscles, and connective tissue and improves your fitness and sense of balance, and also reduces fall risk. This not only helps maintain a high metabolism but also helps to achieve a healthy posture and an active body. It is also an ideal intensity cardiovascular workout because of the fast-paced movement and the physical challenge it possesses. It is also a great way to lower stress and anxiety. Women going through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) benefits highly from Vinyasa Yoga as it helps them quit smoking. Vinyasa Yoga ensures strength, balance, and function to maintain healthy lives in old age too.
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