Vinyasa yoga is referred to as “flow yoga”, which is often confused with “power yoga”.
Movements are characterized by stringing postures together, so you transition from one position to another, seamlessly, with the use of your breath.
The Sanskrit word Vinyasa is derived nyasa, or to place, and vi or in a special way. This simply means that when you perform the Vinyasa yoga, you are not “throwing your body around”, but rather you are bringing consciousness to every movement in each moment.
Characteristics of Vinyasa Yoga
It connects one posture to the next using your breath, so that the postures flow from one another.
The transitions connect one posture to the next. They are the “in-between part”. Yoga practitioners say that these transitions are actually postures themselves.
Vinyasa is movement, wherein the obvious movements are the moving in and out of the different yoga postures. However, even in stillness, Vinyasa is still represented by the beating of your heart and your breathing.
In performing the yoga postures, you move with your breath. Your breathing will initiate the movement of Vinyasa. This is the reason it is often called breath-synchronized practice.
The breathing technique used in Vinyasa yoga is Ujjayi Breath. This is done by inhaling and exhaling rhythmically through your nose. Through this breathing technique, you will feel relaxed.
This form of yoga is often equated with high-energy movements, but there are different ways to approach Vinyasa yoga from rapid to slow. You build strength and flexibility by making slower movements. This will create a more sustainable, lifetime practice.
Vinyasa is a more complete type of class since it moves through all of the different asana families within just a one session. The families are the groupings every posture belongs to, like standing postures, forward bends, backbends, etc.
Yoga Poses for Beginners
Kumbhakasana - Plank Pose
Inhale as you approach the high push-up position, your hands under your shoulders, while your feet are hip-distance apart.
Ashtanga Namaskara – Knee-Chest-Chin Pose
Exhale [while lowering | as you lower] your knees to the floor. Elbows should be tucked in toward your sides.
Your hips should be lifted off the floor, your chest and chin should be brought to the floor. Place your hands on each side of your chest.
Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
Inhale while drawing your chest forward, your hands should be kept underneath your shoulders. Extend your legs to the floor, then un-tuck your toes.
Your shoulders should be drawn back while slightly lifting your chest. Your lower ribs should be on the floor.
Adho Mulha Svansana – Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Exhale while lifting your hips and rolling over your toes. You’re your feet on the floor. Ground down through both your hands and then the soles of your feet as your spine is lengthened. Your belly should be lifted.