Vinyasa Yoga

vinyasa-yoga-with-stick-aayana

Flow with Vinyasa Yoga

The word ‘Vinyasa’is derived from Sanskrit, the ancient language of India in which most of the scriptures are written. ‘Vi’ denotes ‘a special way’ and ‘nyasa’ means ‘to place’.
Vinyasa Yoga thus has assimilated these two features into designing a sequence of poses that flow from one to another co-ordinated by breath.

What is Vinyasa yoga ?

Vinyasa Yoga  practice creates a link between postures that can flow from one to another. Since breath forms a vital part in helping the mind to focus and remain in the present, Vinyasa Yoga integrates it into the flow of movements so as to bring forth the meditative aspect of Yoga as well. This popular version of Yoga makes for a constant surge of energy to percolate into the movements that link asanas together. Well-planned transitions from one posture to another that lay the foundation of Vinyasa Yoga helps stretch out particular set of muscles thus creating a pattern within which to access increased flexibility and build strength.

Vinyasa from India to the rest of the world

It was Ashtanga style of Yoga that first strung together postures into a repetitive sequential flow shifting focus from the static Hatha style into dynamic vinyasa. Introduced by Sri Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, Ashtanga became a hit with those seeking more than just asana practice as was traditionally practiced. Soon it spread westward with offshoots such as Baptiste, Power Yoga, Jeevamukti, Prana Flow among others.
Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations is a Vinyasa Flow that combines different asanas that blend beautifully into one another. Because of its dynamic nature, Surya Namaskar is usually used to warm up the body sufficiently to allow flexibility of muscles in various other vinyasa flows. By itself Surya Namaskar can give a complete workout for the entire body within a short span of time.

Therein lies the advantage of Vinyasa Yoga. It creates a poetry of motion for the mind to remain engaged in while the body experiences stretching out of layers of muscles. Though it attracts many because of its ability to ‘sweat it out’,Vinyasa Yoga has deeper effects. Due to its sequential variations in every class, Vinyasa Yoga helps you to discover your connection to your physical self in an absorbing manner. It cannot be but subtle and introspective since it demands the right alignment of each posture which only then can transform into an uplifting experience.

Vinyasa deepens your understanding of yoga

In a world that has turned sedentary and minimum movement oriented Vinyasa Yoga comes as a god send to keep muscles in a healthy state along with endowing a feel-good factor to the mind and keeping organs in excellent condition.
Vinyasa Yoga is essentially a cardiovascular workout that helps maintain spine health and endows all the benefits of such a fitness regimen.

A sluggish body is a toxic body and with the help of Vinyasa Yoga we detoxify, The endocrine system and lymphatic systems are activated in a manner to help rid the body of toxins built up through inactivity.
Apart from toning and bringing in flexibility to the body, circulation improves and congestion in organs is melted away by the practice of Vinyasa Yoga. This is made possible by the step by step access first to muscles, then to joints and finally to internal organs as the sequences unfold.
Among its innumerable benefits we should certainly rate high the mental focus that it accords.The mind body-breath conflux that this kind of practice asks for ensures that the mind is fixed on the movements. With directions to breathe in every movement and every transition, Vinyasa Yoga is Pranayama in motion. The stabilizing element it ushers in at every session transforms personality, transforms life not to mention posture and structure. Learning to meditate need not be a separate effort since in Vinyasa Yoga one needs to flow with the breath synchronized with a specific movement. It then transforms every move into a meditative one.

Sequencing of Vinyasa Yoga can be on different levels. Centering attention on one particular part of the body such as Hip Openers or back strengthening flow can lead you into an introspective journey of your own self through the different koshas or layers ranging from Annamaya Kosha {physical body} Pranamaya Kosha {energy body} Manomaya Kosha {mind} Vijnanamaya Kosha {intuition} and Anandamaya Kosha {bliss}.
Sun Salutations set the pace for the class to help enhance circulation and flex the connective tissues. Blending in lunges once the warm up is accomplished help initiate muscular challenges
Once the foundation has been laid, a theme follows.This could be Forward Bends, Back Bends. Twists, Arm balances or Inversions This lends direction to the flow and helps anchor the mind to deeper involvement with the body. It could also revolve around a Peak Pose which forms the grand finale to the class.
Then comes the cooling down poses which are directed at settling the nervous system into the parasympathetic mode from the sympathetic active mode. Usually these would be counterposes to the asanas used to sequence the main flow. Twists and forward bends along with supine spinal twists form the fag end of the class gradually leading to Shavasana or the Corpse Pose helping the system neutralise and attain equilibrium.
It is important to note that a Vinyasa Yoga Class does not peak suddenly into intense asanas and then leaves the system in a highly activated mode but rather gathers momentum from a slow warm up to a theme based sequence ending in a gradual cooling down phase finally coming into a relaxation period that may involve Pranayama or breathing exercises.

Vinyasa flow yoga inspired by Ashtanga yoga

Ashtanga Yoga has set the foundation for Vinyasa Flow with its three series that are based on Detoxification, Strengthening and Nervous System Development. Vinyasa Flow classes take cues from Ashtanga and set intentions while designing sequences. Combining a series of poses that complement each other is the signature style of Vinyasa Flow.
The asanas are chosen with care and intelligence to merge and deepen awareness in students.
Alignment is given prominence to avoid injuries while transitioning from one posture to another. The fluidity of the practice is what makes it rewarding in terms of an exhilarating experience.physically and mentally. Uplifting of mood and lending a spiritual aspect to the practice comes through a flow of poses. The mind-boggling range of asanas with their variations and modifications lend depth and intensity to this fast-paced form of Yoga that has captured the attention of the modern world.

Vinyasa yoga variants

Vinyasa Yoga today has spread its influence in various other forms of Yoga including Power Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Hot Yoga.
Power Yoga Vinyasa Flow has taken Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskar to manifold dimensions. Using this dynamic flow of few basic poses, Power Yoga gradually builds up to a strong practice themed at core strength, muscular toning, single-minded focus, fearlessness and calming the nervous system.
Hatha Vinyasa Yoga incorporates the best of both worlds and creates a sequential flow that includes alignment, breath, restorative phases and meditative approach. Finding an ideal balance between strength and restoration of equilibrium, this form of Yoga paces itself out gently yet intensely. Linking the body to breath it personifies the concept of ‘moving meditation’.
Hot Vinyasa Yoga is yet another variant that uses Vinyasa to burn calories while practicing in a heated studio. With the aim of encouraging detoxification, this form of Yoga lets muscles soften through heat to help it gain flexibility in intense flow.

Teaching Vinyasa Yoga

In order to be qualified to teach Vinyasa Yoga one has to gain certification through a Teacher’s Training Course. This would lay the foundation to gain knowledge about Yoga Philosophy, Anatomy, Alignments, Sequencing, Pranayama, Bandhas and Mudras. However, teaching Vinyasa Yoga requires creativity to bring about a combination of poses. In Ashtanga Yoga the sequences are fixed but a general Vinyasa Flow Yoga class there is the need to keep changing sequences in order to give a holistic experience to students. The progression of poses is left to the discretion of the teacher and this requires skill and ingenuity.
Many reputed academies offer Certification Courses ranging from 200 hours to 300 hours training. This includes theoretical information as well as practical applications. The TTC teaches the importance of structuring a class to achieve maximum results while keeping to the principles of Vinyasa Yoga.