Vinyasa is a modern spin on traditional Hatha yoga. It focuses on grouping the yoga poses, or asanas in such a way as to enable the yoga practitioner to move from one pose to another continuously without stopping. This is why it is commonly referred to as flow yoga. A good example of a popular flow sequence would be one of the many forms of sun salutations, so-called because most people who practice yoga do them when they get out of bed each morning.
Vinyasa (Vin-YAH-sah) means to place in a special way, that is, to create a sequence of poses. I can also mean ‘breath-synchronized movement’, referring to the asanas being performed in conjunction with inhale and exhale patterns, and the poses being held for a certain number of breaths.
Vinyasa uses poses and breath work, but little meditation compared with Hatha or Kundalini yoga. However, the poses are simple enough to be done easily by people ?f any age and ability. It is low-impact and the flowing movement encourages flexibility, strength and stamina.
Vinyasa is a good choice for beginners and advanced students alike because the continuous movement means you have little time to get bored. The sequence of movements is also said to boost the immune system and improve circulation and digestion. It will definitely give you a strong core and back muscles. In addition, it will burn more calories, a great bonus if you are interested in losing weight.
The breath work in Vinyasa is also ideal for anyone with allergies, asthma, or respiratory problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It can help with sleep apnea as well, and improve one’s quality of sleep each night.
In terms of advantages for the mind, it requires focus and concentration, and can relieve stress and improve mood. As with most exercise, it will boost your energy levels. Many older people also report that vinyasa helps them feel less socially isolated because the studios are friendly and welcoming, and they are not made to feel ‘too old for yoga’ compared to, for example, Bikram studios.
If you’ve already been doing Hatha, but want to step up your practice, and/or vary it, Vinyasa might be just the type of yoga you’ve been looking for. If you wish to start a yoga practice, it is an easy, low impact workout that will leave you looking and feeling great if you do it regularly.