WHAT IS VINYASA YOGA ?
Vinyāsa Sanskrit: विन्यास, IAST: vinyāsas a smooth transition between asanas in styles of modern yoga, especially when movement is paired with the breath.
Vin = “to place”
Yasa = “in a special way”
In other words, “to move with intention.” If there’s one thing you’d like to take away from your yoga journey thus far, it’s the importance of practicing with intention.“Vinyasa also means breath linked with movement. It is a conscious flowing movement where each posture is intimately linked with the breath.
It focuses the mind on the movement and allows the Yogi to go deeper into the practice.”
Vinyasa Yoga can be described as movement linked with breath. It’s a dynamic practice that’s often more joyful than other styles and we love it for its ability to lift the heart rate and help students slip into a moving meditation that benefits the body and mind. Vinyasa Yoga is more dynamic than a Hatha Yoga class which is concentrated more on static poses usually held for a longer period of time. Practicing only static poses does not reveal the incredible potential of asanas to be explored when linked in Vinyasa. When you practice a sequence of asanas you link them with conscious breathing.
“The real Vinyasa, or link, however, is the intention with which you practice the asanas. It is the intention that links the postures with consciousness instead of unconsciousness.”
HISTORY OF VINYASA YOGA
Of course the practice of the Yoga asanas goes back many thousands of years. ‘Asana’ means ‘seat’ and the Yogis developed the various asanas or postures to enable them to sit comfortably in meditation for lengthy periods of time. However, the father of modern Vinyasa Yoga is undoubtedly Sri T. Krishnamacharya who was born in 1888 and died in 1989.
Sri Krishnamacharya produced four students who would go on to catapult Yoga, and to a certain degree Vinyasa Yoga, onto the world stage. They are BKS Iyengar; Pattabhi Jois; Srivatsa Ramaswami and Krishnamacayra’s own son TKV Desikachar. Iyengar, although universally popular, is the only one who did not base his style on vinyasa.
BENEFITS OF VINYASA YOGA
Any form of Yoga will provide physical benefits including improved balance and flexibility. Vinyasa Yoga in addition will increase your stamina and endurance. This occurs through the dynamic movements that increase the heart rate and develop muscle tone and strength. Increased muscle strength around joints helps to support the joint under pressure. Improved strength and flexibility reduces the risk of injury, or re-injury. Another benefit is the improvement of immunity and of course a sense of well-being that spreads into your daily life.
The body becomes revitalized and its ability to heal is enhanced by stretching, strengthening and breathing techniques. Increased body heat and energy will loosen muscles as well as instigate stronger blood flow carrying oxygen to vital organs. Increased heat in the body leads to sweating which helps rid the body of harmful toxins.
“If we practice the same asanas over and over again for a long stretch of time, they can easily become mere routine, even if the choice of asanas and breathing exercises is well planned and designed specifically for our condition and goals. Our attention to what we are doing steadily diminishes with this kind of unbroken repetition, and boredom sets in. When we practice in Vinyasa, we would be staying alert and constantly discovering new forms of awareness are essential features of a correct asana practice. The proper practice of asana requires our mind to be fully focused; this is automatically achieved by arousing interest and attentiveness through new experiences.”
“One of the principles of Vinyasa is to ‘start where you are’. Please scan your body before you practice, and assess your energy. Honour any ‘tweaks’ or ‘injuries’ that may require extra attention or slight modification of a pose.”