Often confused with power yoga, Vinyasa is the style of posture performance that characterizes moving from one asana to another in one flow, without break, seamlessly. The only connecting element between the different stages of the flow should be your breath.
Vinyasa allows experimentation with a wide variety of postures. Unlike in Ashtanga or Bikram yoga, there is no “fixed form”. It becomes like a dance form incorporating numberless posture alterations and allows scope for improvisation. No two classes in Vinyasa are ever alike. An excellent advantage of taking Vinyasa as your personal yoga style is that it prevents repetitive motion injuries from happening. Unlike practice in the Ashtanga style that demands exacting postures being repeated in the same way every day, Vinyasa does not exert stress in the same physical areas repeatedly.
Philosophical Explanation of Vinyasa: The philosophical thrust of Vinyasa yoga is on temporality. Just as life passes in accumulated moments swiftly changing, we enter and exit from posture to posture in a free flow.
Sri T Krishnamacharya, the most illustrative proponent of the Mysore school of yoga was the first to bring Vinyasa Yoga to popular notice. Krishnamacharya defined Vinyasa as a breath initiated practice that symbolizes connection between life phases with the intent of moving towards the sacred. It is essential to build your Vinyasa practice with an objective to focus upon as you are performing the movements rigorously in a flow. Visualize the movement kinetically taking you closer to the abstract objective.
Features of Vinyasa Yoga Flow
Breath as a Connector
Using breath constant and in the same pattern, vinyasa makes the practitioner move from one posture to the next without breaking the flow. The ceaseless dance like rhythmic movement assuming one unique posture after another is the challenge.
In an alignment-based class, the focus is on a different aspect entirely, that upon engaging with a posture. In such a routine, deep bends, thorough breathing, a staying in a posture for a while before “breaking” the bearing is considered. Vinyasa on the other hand is not about engaging with a specific pose but with the ceaseless flow only.
Only Transition is Permanent
Philosophically perceived, transition is an unsettling concept indicating towards impermanence but when transition finally manifests through the flow yoga, it is understood how life never ceases to stop even though there are many phases of change. Engage with this idea to the core when observing vinyasa. Keep the gracefulness alive in the transition between poses. Visualize an unceasing fountain of life, constantly flowing, constantly evolving.
The Ujjayi Breath Technique
Vinyasa ideally generates a lot of internal body heat resulting in thorough perspiration and subsequent calorie burn. Taking this process further, you can implement the ujjayi breathing technique in your vinyasa flow movement.
Ujjayi is an important pranayama or the art of channeling your prana which is the vital life force, through breath. In ujjayi, you need to fill your lungs completely with fresh and clean air and slightly contracting your throat as you do. Follow by a forceful breathing out through the nose. This is supposed to rid the inner niches of the body of germs, clear the respiratory tract, and thoroughly channel life force.
Expect deep relaxation with ujjayi as part of your vinyasa practice.
Heat Generation and Cardiovascular Health
Vinyasa can be a superb practice for people concerned with heart health. The immense heat generating capacity of this flow exercise can be a valuable instrument for cardiovascular fitness. Heart rate monitoring of vinyasa practitioners have shown an impressive change towards improvement. Other postural practice of yoga surely lacks this quality while vinyasa can improve heart health within a very short time.
Vinyasa is the sort of yoga that actually meets the requirements of the new age—culturing a fast, dynamic quality, developing high energy and the art of channeling the same at many directions at once, and leading to an inner sanctum of peace that resides nowhere but inside you. What many people forget to take into account is, vinyasa can be a breath and meditation process in its own right which could either be practiced in a dynamic stimulating manner or as a soft and calming, restorative practice, with breath and the flow as its regulator.