Some describe vinyasa yoga as a dance with the breath. Each movement in a vinyasa sequence is tied to either and inhale or and exhale. Motions are fluid and "flow" together. What more details? Here's the breakdown!
The Meaning of "Vinyasa":
Vinyasa has many interpretations, but for the purpose of Vinyasa as a yoga practice, the definition of "sequence" seems the most fitting. Indeed, Vinyasa practices are well thought out sequences of postures flowing from one to the next with ease. This is great for people wanted a fast-paced class with little down time.
Standard Vinyasa Elements:
A "standard" Vinyasa class could be described as follows. The class would start with cat/cow to warm up then flow through 5 rounds Sun Salutation A, 5 rounds of Sun Salutation B, 5 rounds of Warrior Dance, standing postures, core and cool down. That being said most instructors create their own sequences, creating truly unique experiences. While I start with a standard vinyasa sequence for beginners, there is nothing I love more than adding my own twists and challenges as they advance and discover their limits.
The practice is rigorous -- burning more calories than any form of yoga, with the average woman burning 550 calories per hour. The constant movement increases cardio while the postures cause the muscles to burn. Instructors typically use upbeat music to keep the temp and energy levels of the class on point. If you hear an intense, energetic song -- get ready, the intensity of the class will likely pick up!
Breath Work, or Pranayama, is incredibly important in Vinyasa yoga. Each movement should be linked to an inhale or exhale, setting the pace for the class. The traditional pranayama for Vinyasa is called Ujjayi. This is an even breath through the nose, typically starting with 4 counts on the inhale and 4 counts on the exhale. The Ujjayi breath is sometimes called the "victorious breath" as a slight constriction in the throat makes it audible, and as many teachers like to say, "Let the breath become louder than your thoughts".
60 - 90 minutes
There are new benefits to yoga emerging each day as scientists explore the impact of the practice on the mind and body. Here is a brief overview specifically for Vinyasa:
Increases and helps maintain vitality in the bones, joints, muscles and connective tissues
Boosts the Metabolism
Excellent source of Cardio
If you are able to find the "moving meditation", can have immense benefits for the brain and enhance overall mood
Promotes good posture
Still have more questions? Contact Courtney on Instagram @Couryoga