What is Vinyasa?
Vinyasa is a dynamic, “flowing” style of yoga that connects movement with breath. Often called vinyasa flow, it is an energetic yet graceful practice that leads students through a sequence of poses that strengthens and lengthens the body. Sometimes thought of as a “moving meditation,” vinyasa emphasizes fluid, conscious movement as students move with the breath from one posture to the next. In vinyasa, the transitions between the postures are emphasized and just as important as the postures themselves. Mindfulness of breath is always the connecting factor that guides students through the sequence.
A beautiful aspect of vinyasa is that it is inherently creative. Unlike styles of yoga that rely on the same sequence each time, no two vinyasa practices are alike. Vinyasa teachers typically structure classes around a theme or focus, but you’ll most likely never practice the same exact sequence twice. This can be not only fun for the practitioner, but the variety of poses can also develop a stronger, more balanced practice.
Another unique component to vinyasa is the opportunity for self-expression. The experience of moving with the breath and flowing smoothly from posture to posture can be freeing and stress-relieving. Often dance-like, vinyasa invites practitioners to find grace in their bodies on the mat. Moving and breathing together as a group can be a joyous experience that reminds us how connected we are to each other.
There are many ways to approach vinyasa, from rapid to very slow. A fast-paced, rhythmic vinyasa class introduces a cardiovascular component that you might not experience in other forms of yoga. On the other hand, slow flow vinyasa takes a slower and more mindful approach that can be a great place to start for those new to vinyasa. Regardless of the pace of the class, practicing vinyasa will generate heat as you flow continuously from pose to pose. Warming the body, strengthening muscles, and then actively stretching at the cool down will provide a full-body, balanced experience.
Vinyasa classes at Body Balance are all-levels classes, so students of all levels of experience are welcome. All our vinyasa instructors are knowledgeable teachers and seasoned vinyasa practitioners. They are skilled in leading classes for students with a variety of experience and offer modifications to accommodate all individual practices. Students are always encouraged to work at their own pace and honor their bodies.
Written by Jessica Ruff
RYT-500 yoga instructor at Body Balance Williamsburg
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“The real vinyasa, or link, however, is the intention with which you practice the asanas.” David Life