When you hear the term “yoga flow”, or “a flow”, the type of yoga probably being referenced is Vinyasa. A Vinyasa flow is a strung together series of posture + breathe, moved through in a rhythmic flow. With a variety of poses and transitions available, nearly no two classes are alike.
A bystander with no background knowledge may look upon a vinyasa class and think it is all free-flowing movement with no sequence or series, and, well, that’s the fun of it!
The derivative of the word Vinyasa:* “nyasa” means “to place”* “vi” means “in a special way”
There is consciousness and purpose to each pose, position, transition, breathe. Vinyasa is a playground - we can run around freely, feel wind in our bodies and fire in our souls, in a controlled environment, set by sequence.
While no two vinyasa classes are alike, there are commonalities that streamline through each of them:
In a Vinyasa class, you engage your Ujjayi Breathe. This is the act of inhaling deeply and exhaling thoroughly, all through your nose. This generates a feeling of relaxation, giving intention to each and every inhale..… and exhale.
Ujjayi Breath also helps build heat in your body during the practice, which coincides with another factor of the Vinyasa flow - it can be a bit of a cardio workout. The Sun Salutations, along with Chaturanga Dandasana, add some aerobatics to the vinyasa flow, and this is where you typically work up a sweat.
Sun Salutations - the standard warm up of a Vinyasa class; a set series of movement that, physically, bring you up into a mountain pose and down, again, onto your belly, within the course of a few breathes. There are two components - Sun A and Sun B - and, typically, you move through each set three times.
Chaturanga Dandasana - this is the key transition that ends / begins each section of the series. It engages the core, arm muscles, back muscles…. well, let’s just say it engages the entire body.
Limited breathing? Cardio workout?? Excuse me, what?
No worries - like every practice of yoga, a sacred child’s pose is always available to you. And, your instructor will guide you through each piece of the practice, advising ways you can alter or adjust to fit the flow into the practice your body needs.
And, again, no two classes are alike - your instructor will take the standard blueprint and make it their own, based on their own teachings, experience, intention and general individuality.
A Vinyasa flow is a great way to engage strength, sweat, body and mind. It provides joy and peace, all in one. A moving meditation.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s play.
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