What is vinyasa yoga: benefits, safety, and everything you need to know
Posted: Aug 20, 2019
The term Vinyasa is derived from the Sanskrit "nyasa" which is "to place" and "vi" meaning "in a special way". This embodies what a good Vinyasa Yoga Class should achieve – we are not throwing our bodies around in a careless manner, but moving with control and bringing consciousness to each sequence to flow mindfully with our breath.
In Vinyasa Yoga, you will be guided to flow through a series of postures which coordinate and synchronise your breath and movement. Other yoga types, such as Hatha Yoga or Yin Yoga, work more restoratively and slowly to relax and stretch the body. Whereas Vinyasa Yoga is a more fast-paced, fitness-based style of yoga – so, as with yoga types, make sure you’re listening to all the alignment cues from the teacher and practising good form to prevent injury. Vinyasa Flow benefits include the fact that it allows for greater creative freedom with sequencing and offers a variety of postures and flows; meaning no two Vinyasa Yoga Classes are ever the same. This differs from other yoga types, such as Bikram and Ashtanga Yoga, which follow a strict sequence.
The following is a short example of a Vinyasa Yoga flow:
From Downward Facing Dog:
Inhale; right leg lifts, 3-legged dog
Exhale; bring the right leg forwards and placing it in between hands
Inhale; high lunge, arms raise over head
Exhale; hold high lunge, squeeze elbows together behind back
Inhale; arms reach over head
Exhale; hands plant back down, step back to high plank and move through a Vinyasa.
Chances are, if you attend a Vinyasa Yoga Class, you'll hear the yoga teacher say "move through a Vinyasa" or "take a Vinyasa" – but what exactly is a Vinyasa?
It is a series of specific postures which you flow through on each inhale and exhale, leading to your Downward Facing Dog. It is used to safely reset your body between poses and it creates momentum and heat in your practice. In a Vinyasa, you will move from High Plank, exhale through Chaturanga, inhale into Upwards Facing Dog and exhale into Downward Facing Dog. There's your Vinyasa. This is featured in other yoga types such as Power Yoga.
Now to take a look at some of the Vinyasa Yoga benefits:
- It gets your heart beating and your sweat running; it’s a great form of exercise which is more gentle on your joints than something like running.
- You’re moving dynamically in a Vinyasa Yoga Class which can help you to build lean muscle mass as you’re strengthening and stretching your muscles in equal measure.
- A lot of us live very sedentary lives, so attending a Vinyasa Yoga Class is a great way to counter this by improving your flexibility and increasing your mobility.
- Another benefit of Vinyasa Yoga, it’s an excellent form of stress relief and a work out for not only your mental, but your emotional, physical, and spiritual health as well. It helps you connect the mind and body which can have a very positive effect on your overall wellbeing.
And the list of Vinyasa Yoga benefits goes on. We hope you enjoyed this little run down and encourage you to try and make it down to a class to experience the benefits of Vinyasa Yoga for yourself.
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