Yama Yoga Talks About Vinyasa Flow
Vinyasa means linking the body movement with the breath. Both Vinyasa and Ashtanga (see Ashtanga Yoga) are popular forms of Yoga taught at many studios throughout the US. You may see studio signs for Vinyasa Flow. That is because like Ashtanga, Vinyasa is a series of postures that are repeated, can be memorized, and then put into motion more like a choreographed moving mediation. Vinyasa may be practiced in reduced lighting or candlelight, with a more sensual flow and depending on your teacher may even be done with music.
Vinyasa Yoga is the “freestyle” version of Ashtanga. The Vinyasa teacher uses his/her creative license to create posture sequences synced with the breath. Most routines, however, are the same ones that you will find in Ashtanga. The instructor can choose music and lighting that are specific for their given routine. Vinyasa, in theory, is less rigid. This, of course, does not mean it is easy, it is still a consistent flow of postures that will make you seriously sweat! And I will not say it is not transformative, but I can attest that the classes seem slightly more focused on the “on the mat” experience.
Ashtanga is more precise in its practice. There is no music or candlelight - it is important in Ashtanga to hear your own breath, to go within. Ashtanga may be considered by some the more rigid version of Asana practices (especially between Ashtanga and Vinyasa) in that it is organized around Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. The concentration is not on Asana as an exercise alone but is consumed on the true goal of Yoga which is to reach Samadhi. Ashtanga is largely focused on the transformation that extends beyond the mat. There is very little wiggle room in Ashtanga for creative license or change.
Many people looking to find a class either in Vinyasa or Ashtanga should simply ask themselves what they are looking for? Join a class of Ashtanga and then Vinyasa to experience the difference. Do both for great balance. What is the level of transformation you are looking for? Vinyasa, like Ashtanga, is excellent for strength training, flexibility, stamina, the reduction of stress, has cardio benefits, and is a super detox regimen. Among those things helps you incorporate proper breathing into your life. (Truth, many of us don’t really know how to breath well to keep us healthy)
I love this YouTube Video. It is a 40-minute free session of Vinyasa hosted by “Yoga with Adrienne.” This practice cultivates heat, trims, tones, builds strength and flexibility. Adriene works with a strong foundation and encourages you to integrate a long-lasting breath practice in your Vinyasa flow yoga. With full-body awareness and a strong focus on alignment, this practice is swift but offers variations for you to try as you build your practice. Open the hips, the shoulders and tap into your core strength. This vinyasa yoga practice tones the legs and the arms while offering a strong foundation to protect the joints. Be mindful and meet your edge! Return to this practice to experience your growth and deepen your practice. "The journey is the reward." Practice (Adrienne)
In closing, Vinyasa Yoga may appear differently based on your instructor so ask questions before joining.