Vinyasa yoga or Vinyasa flow yoga is one of the popular form of yoga in many Western countries. It results in sweaty and energized body at the end of the practice. People feel after vinyasa yoga practice they do not need any weight lifting or body work classes. Often it is believed that vinyasa yoga helps to reduce the body weight ! Some very popular yoga styles, including power yoga, jivamukti, body works and core power make use of the vinyasa yoga method.
Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word means “to place in a certain way.” It refers to a certain sequence of poses that are performed in a particular order. There are four basic definitions of Vinyasa:
1) The linking of body movement with breath
2) A specific sequence of breath-synchronized movements used to transition between sustained postures
3) Setting an intention for one’s personal yoga practice and taking the necessary steps toward reaching that goal
4) A type of yoga class ! -well, this is a definition too !
Vinyasa yoga is believed to be an offshoot of Ashtanaga yoga. Ashtanga Yoga is a powerful and dynamic style of yoga developed in the 20th century by the guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Ashtanga incorporates the sequence of linked poses called a vinyasa, but where Ashtanga has a strict structure and precise set of rules, Vinyasa Yoga is creative and exploratory. Vinyasa yoga is more challenging and it takes time for people to get used to the flow of vinyasa.
While flowing through poses one has to breath in and out -which is a must for Vinyasa poses and it is for this reason Vinyasa is considered as moving meditation. Vinyassa yoga is often faster paced, and the assanas are linked together in a series of movements that are synchronized with the breath. Vinyasa Yoga is diverse, creative, and challenging on a mental, physical, and spiritual level.
There are physiological and medical benefits to vinyasa yoga. It can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it can help detoxify the body so functions, systems and organs operate more efficiently. It also can balance your metabolic system, helping you sleep better and aiding in weight loss.
Vinyasa yoga works on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels to connect the mind with the body and relieve stress and anxiety. Mindfully moving through the continual flowing poses during a vinyasa class can help alleviate the static thoughts that may be running through your head. Focusing on the inhale and exhale of your breath results in a positive, calming effect on your central nervous system.
Vinyasa flow has varieties of poses. The basic poses can be following postures: Between each pose one can go through Surya Namaskara poses. Vinyasa also refers to the specific sequence of poses that lead up to downward-facing dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana in a Surya Namaskara. During a Vinyasa Yoga class, this specific sequence performed between the poses. For example between the below 14 poses one can perform downward- facing dog pose as in Surya Namaskara followed by high plank, cobra pose and downward-facing dog and mountain pose before going through next pose.
1. Pull-Through Tabletop
2. 90-Degree Extension
3. Side Plank Knee Crunch
4. Three Point Plank
5. Lifted Crescent Lunge
6. Elevated Chair
7. Airplane Lunge
8. Sugar Cane
9. Handstand Prep
10. Revolved Reverse Warrior
11. Prayer Lunge
12. Tip-Toe Pulse
13. Camel pose
14. Shoulder stand
In studios and fitness centers too often the Vinyasa yoga is becoming a playground for the practice of teachers creative expression. This is resulting in Vinyasa yoga or yoga for that matter without a focus on the body alignment and linking of the poses. It is important to go through the flow but not without getting the benefit of stretching, breathing and understanding the benefit of each yoga posture. The practice of yoga becomes more meaningful when the student understands the challenge of the posture and how it is helpful for their body.
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