By Sangeetha Saran
So, what exactly is Vinyasa Flow Yoga? Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word that means “connection.” In the case of vinyasa flow, this refers to connection between the movement of the body and the rhythm of the breath.
Vinyasa Flow is a term that can cover a broad range of yoga styles. You will hear it often and it can cause confusion to those new to yoga because it doesn’t refer to just one particular style. Baptiste Yoga, Power Yoga, some forms of Hot Yoga, and Ashtanga could all be placed under the umbrella of vinyasa flow, even though they are different schools with differing philosophies.
About Vinyasa Flow Yoga
The simplest way to understand vinyasa flow yoga is to realize that vinyasa does not refer to a specific type of yoga, but rather a way of practicing in which the poses flow seamlessly from one to the other with no rest in between. Vinyasa is a method, not a style.
Vinyasa flow is one of the more popular types of practice in the United States and is what you will frequently find in gyms as well as more serious studios, especially those in larger cities. A vinyasa class is best attempted when you already have a good familiarity with at least the basic asanas, as there is very little if any, discussion on the finer points of a pose, or even how to execute it. You simply flow from one pose into another, paying attention to the timing of your breath.
A good vinyasa class is very physically demanding and if you get a really strong teacher, could well be the most intense workout that you’ve ever done. You’ll get strength work, core work, and flexibility-building asanas, and depending on the level of the class, some wildly acrobatic poses. There is a reason that vinyasa flow classes are being included in the training curriculum of the NFL and NHL.
Vinyasa and the Link to Ashtanga
Stay around long enough, and you’ll hear vinyasa described as “freestyle Ashtanga” or something similar. All this means is that vinyasa draws heavily upon the ashtanga tradition in that it is a hard and sweaty workout, with the movement being synchronized with the breath.
While that may be true, the key difference is that Ashtanga is a style comprised of six specific series of postures, always practiced in the same order. Vinyasa is practiced free form, meaning that the sequence will vary from teacher to teacher, and will be different depending on the studio.
Benefits of Vinyasa
In a word, personalization – With Ashtanga yoga, you are guaranteed the same series of movements no matter what studio you visit. Everywhere in the world, if your teacher is traditional, you will get an intense workout, but classes will always be sequenced the exact same way.
Vinyasa teachers don’t care so much for repetitive class sequencing. Due to that fact, you can shop around a bit until you find the teacher and class that resonates with you the best, and can give you a series of flow classes that you can grow into, instead of being stuck in the same series of poses every time.
Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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