Yoga has exploded in popularity over the past decade, with studios popping up all over the country and plenty of style variations to choose from, depending on what you’re looking for. Vinyasa yoga, a form of Ashtanga yoga, is a fairly broad description for many different yoga classes, but what makes this form of yoga unique from others?
The sun salutation is a series of three yoga poses typically associated with Vinyasa. These three poses are the Plank, Chaturanga and Upward Facing Dog. This series of poses is what the instructor is referring to when she tells you to “go through the Vinyasa.” The Vinyasa is the one aspect of Vinyasa yoga that will always be included.
Unlike many other forms of yoga, Vinyasa yoga allows for a more artistic approach. It is up to your instructor to choose which poses will be included in the class, the pace at which you will go through the poses, whether or not there will be chanting, and several other factors. The ability of the instructor to choose how they would personally like to conduct their class can be a unique and beneficial experience for students.
There is no rule book guiding teachers on exactly which poses to do at which times, and in what order. Vinyasa gives teachers the ability to alter their routines based on personal preference or mood. This means that no two Vinyasa yoga classes you attend will be exactly the same. This is a great benefit to those who tend to grow bored of the same routine.
Another great characteristic of Vinyasa yoga is that since poses and movement are at the instructor’s discretion, it can be tailored to target certain areas of the body, like the core. The intensity can also be adjusted by your instructor, whether she chooses a slower, more spiritual pace and intensity, or a more challenging routine.
By definition, Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement.” This means that the instructor will tell you when to inhale and when to exhale based on the movement of the particular pose. This is referred to as “Vinyasa Flow.” The connection of breathing to poses creates smooth movements that come together in a spritual, artistic manner. Vinyasa separates itself from other forms of yoga through this smooth movement, including more than stretches alone.
Vinyasa During Pregnancy
Overall, yoga is a gentle enough exercise that can safely be practiced before, during and after pregnancy. Again, due to its high degree of versatility, Vinyasa yoga is an excellent exercise option for women who are, or wish to become pregnant. Practicing Vinyasa yoga before and during your pregnancy can help prepare your body for childbearing, childbirth and postpartum recovery. Classes and DVDs are available all over the country and online.
Each type of yoga has unique benefits, and Vinyasa is certainly no exception. Due its high degree of versatility, Vinyasa offers innumerable options for instructors and students alike. Namaste!