yoga students in a yoga studio

What is a Vinyasa?

January 14, 2019

What is a Vinyasa?

The term Vinyasa is given to flowing yoga classes. Vinyasa classes are also named Yoga Flow or Vinyasa Flow. During a Vinyasa style yoga class you will flow between a series of yoga postures that are linked together by the breath.

The term breath synchronised movement might also be used to describe a Vinyasa. Synchronising the breath and the movement is one of the objectives that practitioners are hoping to achieve whilst performing a Vinyasa. The literal translation from Sanskrit to English of the term Vinyasa is as follows nyasa – to place and vi – in a special way. 

Quite simply a Vinyasa style yoga class is a flowing class. The body is moved or placed carefully between postures. Postures are connected together to form a sequence, in this style of yoga practice the breath is used to link the postures together. A sun salutation or surya namaskar is a perfect example of a Vinyasa.  The breath links posture to posture allowing the body to move freely through a sequence.

When performing vinyasas the body is moved with care and awareness. The breath provides a focus and assistance to help carry the body smoothly and safely through the sequence that is being performed.

Vinyasas increase mobility by moving the body through its complete range of movement. They help to move stagnant energy around the body, improve circulation, establish and deepen a sense of union by connecting the breath and the movement. Vinyasas encourage mindful movement which helps prevent injuries and deepens physical awareness. Each movement follows the breath which is slow and deliberate making it possible to take time and listen to the body. Moving like this brings awareness to any physical boundaries.

Vinyasas provide a cardio workout this varies greatly depending upon the selection of postures included in each individual vinyasa. Vinyasas allow you to move freely, they lengthen and strengthen every muscle in the body and massage the internal organs to help move waste products through the digestive system. As the lymphatic system relies on muscular contractions vinyasas are ideal to assist with eliminating toxins from the body.  

Vinyasa do not need to be complicated, just remember to take your time to move carefully and work to establish synchronicity between the breath and movement.

Allow your breath to carry you through the practise; the rest will fall into place.

The breath is the intelligence of the body— T.K.V. Desikachar the Son of the Great Yoga Master Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya.