In a vinyasa class, you will be taught to “link movement with the breath.” As a vinyasa teacher myself, I encourage my students to find the relationship between movement and breath and to find the calmness that permeates between the two. Each movement is paired with either an inhale or an exhale. A simple example of this would be cat-cow; inhale as you drop the belly and arch into cow pose and exhale as you draw the belly button towards the spine and arch into cat pose.
Having its origins in Hatha yoga (for reasons of simplicity, think of Hatha yoga as a generic term to mean a type of yoga that uses physical postures to allow for you to achieve relaxation, but may not necessarily “flow”) Vinyasa yoga is not only interested in the poses themselves, but also the movements and transitions into the poses. To understand this, sun salutations may serve as an excellent tool.
I first fell in love with vinyasa yoga because its diversity. The sequences (i.e. “flows”) and postures practiced are different each time, thus forcing me to stay present and mindful throughout the practice. If you get bored easily or become tired of routines, vinyasa might just be the yoga for you.
While you keep in mind your calm, steady breath, and keep in heart your intention, a vinyasa class will “flow” from posture to posture, linking the movements almost like a dance. Many vinyasa classes will play upbeat music (I myself like to throw in some indie/alternative music… and sometimes some Jimmy Buffett), though the playlists you find will vary from teacher to teacher. Because of the faster pace, these classes help you to tone, strengthen, and sweat while also giving you the stretching, relaxation, and clarity you need to bring balance into your life.
Do you have any additional questions or comments? We would love to hear them! What is your favorite style of yoga? Let us know in the comments below!