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Characteristics of Vinyasa Flow Yoga

  • Vinyasa Yoga connects one posture to the next using the breath.  This can be thought of as linking or flowing into postures which is sometimes why it’s called “Flow Yoga”.  

  • “Transitions” are what connect one posture to another in Vinyasa.  What is not always appreciated is that transitions are considered postures themselves.  To move in a more graceful, connected way, allot just as much time developing skill in the transitions as you do in the asana.

  • Vinyasa is synonymous with movement.  Moving in and out of postures is the obvious movement but even in stillness Vinyasa is represented by the beat of your heart and inhale/exhale of your breath.

  • Move with breath.  Breath initiates the movement of Vinyasa which is why you’ll hear it referred to as a “breath-synchronized” practice.

  • Ujjayi Breath is the breathing technique used.  It is done by inhaling and exhaling in a rhythmic manner through the nose.  The overall sensation is one of relaxation.

  • Vinyasa practice generates heat and can add a cardiovascular component not always present in other forms of postural practice. 

  • Often equated with high-energy, there are many ways to approach Vinyasa from rapid to slow.  Build strength, coupled with flexibility, by emphasizing and exploring slower options.  Doing so will help you create a sustainable, life-long practice.

  • Vinyasa Yoga is a more complete type of class as it typically moves through all of the various asana families in a single session.  The families, also called categories or classes, are the groupings the postures belong to such as standing postures, backbends, forward bends, etc.

  • Contrast this to alignment based classes that cycle through the asana categories over a series of weeks, instead of every class.  The benefit is a greater depth of postural understanding, in a particular class, at the expense of single session balance.

Example Flow from Lululemon

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