Yoga for Beginners: An Introduction to Vinyasa Yoga
The word vinyasa can be referred to as, ''arranging something in a special way; ''in reference to the yoga poses. As a philosophy, Vinayasa recognizes the temporary nature of things. Vinyasa refers to variation within prescribed parameters.
The arrangement in a special way indicates that we are not merely throwing our bodies around but bringing consciousness to each and every movement.
Vinyasa is also called as flow because of the smooth way the poses run together, it is one of the most popular contemporary styles of yoga.
Vinyasa connects one posture to the next using the breath. This is also termed as linking or flowing into postures which is why its popularly termed as ''flow yoga.''
Connecting with the Breath with Vinyasa
It is a breath synchronized practice. There is a specific breath technique used. This is popularly known as Ujjayi Breath. It's done by inhaling and exhaling in a rhythmic manner through the nose. The main sensation is through the nose – one relaxation. The breath leads one pose to the next. All the rhythmic movements are timed to breath
The practice generates heat and cardiovascular activity. Vinyasa yoga can be practiced in a vigorous, dynamic manner and also as a soft, gentle and restorative practice.
Vinyasa invites a lot of variety, will generally include sun salutations (Surya namaskar). It ranges from various poses and the intensity can be varied.
There are a variety of asanas like standing, seated and supine poses, twists, balancing poses, forward folds, inversions and backbends.
Vinyasa is especially spectacular for athletic partitioners. It is a relatively vigorous class. One generally moves around more than a slower pace of yoga.
The distinguishing feature of vinyasa lies in its diversity. It is rather flexible and unpredictable.
Key features of Vinyasa:
- Emphasizes on organs: Vinyasa yoga deals with stretching and strengthening of the muscles. When the muscles are open, the practice turns towards the joints. When the joints are open, there is an emphasis on the organs. It involves improving circulation and reducing congestion in the organs.
- It's meditation in movement: Meditation involves a focused mind. In Vinyasa, there is a lot of scope to give something to focus the mind on. It is a dynamic meditation. The mental component is pretty strong in this practice. It is pivotal in stabilizing and improving one's entire life.
- Trains the mind: Due to the modern chaotic patterns of the society, when our bodies are still, our minds are racing. Vinyasa deals will the stillness of the mind by specific instructions on the breath, movements, bandhas, postures and sequences. By focusing on the breath, the mind induces concentration, which develops to awareness. This consistent training develops awareness and helps us to evolve in this aspect. We thereby regain the ability to process what comes to the surface – the happy stuff as well as what makes us uncomfortable.
- Cardiovascular activity: Yoga practices like Vinyasa generate cardiovascular activity which is not usually present in other forms of yoga.
- Involves breathing technique: By involving ''Ujjayi'' breath technique, each movement in Vinyasa practice is followed with an inhalation or exhalation, creating a connection between breath and movement. Some poses are held for several breaths sometimes, but when moving between different poses, Ujjayi technique brings it together.
The History and Origins of Vinyasa
Vinyasa was born out of the Ashtanga lineage, in Mysore, India during the first half of the 20th century. It is a modern style of yoga, from the teachings of Sri Krishnamacharya. He gave incredible importance to each posture. His goal behind this was to deepen concentration and awareness in the practice. These further lays emphasis on the mind-body connect in yoga.
The practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is breath coordinated with movement which has become increasingly popular in the west. Krishnamacharya visioned Vinyasa as an artful approach to living, a way of applying the awareness and precision of yoga to all aspects of life, including the self, relationships, work and personal evolution.
Benefits of Vinyasa and why you should practice everyday
Vinyasa Yoga has a series of physical benefits.
- Keeps the body active and fit. Ensures motion through smooth, uninterrupted flow of the poses.
- It helps in keeping the joints healthy.
- Helps in weight-loss when paired with a balanced diet.
- Beneficial for menstrual cycles, eases cramps and flow.
- Improves muscle tone and boosts metabolic activity.
There is also a range of mental benefits as well:
- Induces mindfulness and awareness
- Reduces stress
- Conscious eating
- Calmer and stillness of the mind
- Helps in reducing smoking activity.
Ashtanga yoga is used interchangeably with Vinyasa. Both are very similar in approach. Vinyasa yoga is great for beginners, there are plenty of vinyasa yoga classes and workshops that can be booked online.
Benefits of specific poses:
- The child's pose is a calming pause position. It stretches the lower back, hips, thighs, knees and ankles relaxing the spine, shoulders and neck.
- The downward-facing dog strengthens the back, shoulders and arms down the hamstrings, calves and arches of the feet. Shows major improvements in alleviating back pain.
- The Cobra Pose: This is a back-bending pose that can help in strengthening the back muscles, increase in spinal flexibility and stretches the abdomen, shoulders and chest.
- Tree Pose: Helps in improving balance.
Start your Vinyasa practice today!
Various asanas in vinyasa provide a variety of benefits. However, it is important and safe to go to a licensed yoga teacher to learn and imbibe the authenticity and sanctity of the practice. Yoga is a science and not merely an exercise, it's always advised to learn from a professional and authorized trainer.
The transitions between postures are crucial. Moving safely with awareness prevents common yoga injuries.
Whether it's slow or fast paced, Vinyasa is pretty intensive – adding to increased strength and flexibility.
Start your Conscious Living Lifestyle Today!
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Are you a beginner and just getting started on yoga?
Starting your first yoga session can be exciting yet intimidating. If you're a beginner and would like to learn more on how to get started, check out our previous blog post: Getting started with Yoga – A Beginner’s Guide, on how to get started with Yoga and finding your best practice.