By Sangeetha Saran
Yoga comes in various forms, including one newer form called vinyasa. This style, also known as "flow yoga", covers a large variety of yoga classes. Each class has the potential to offer something new or different, but the theme is always simple: breathing with motion.
Breathing in Vinyasa
The key to the "flow" in vinyasa yoga is to synchronize breathing with movements. The smooth transitions between motions and breathing creates a dance-like atmosphere to the practice. Each movement is anchored by an inhale or an exhale, breathing being at the heart of the entire session. The emphasis on "flowing" in vinyasa reinforces the ability to relax and slide comfortably from one stretch to another.
Origins of Vinyasa
Literally, "vinyasa" translates from Sanskrit to mean "connection". This name is meant to represent the connection between movements and breathing. Although yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, Vinyasa was founded in the early 20th century during the Ashtanga school era. Its popularity has increased substantially over recent years as more and more yoga teachers and students are discovering the power of vinyasa.
Typical Vinyasa Experience
A classic example of a vinyasa movement would be the easy but popular Cat-Cow stretch. This simple stretch involves arching the back both upwardly and then downwardly several times to synchronize the breath. These synchronized breaths and movements are what make vinyasa more than just about stretching. When "vinyasa" is used as a noun during a class, this includes going through a series of motions: a plank, chaturanga, and upward facing dog. These vinyasa motions can be done at the pace and ability level of the individuals participating.
Why Do Vinyasa Yoga?
One great thing about vinyasa is it varies greatly between classes and is incredibly versatile for individuals to personalize the routine. As with any form of yoga, vinyasa is an excellent way to stay flexible, it helps strengthen muscles and support joints, and it is notorious for relieving stress. If you're looking to practice yoga and especially hope to de-stress, Vinyasa is likely the choice for you.
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