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Complete Guide to Vinyasa Flow Yoga

Jul 30, 2020

Vinyasa yoga is becoming very popular these days. It is excellent for improving the flexibility of the body, breath control, and it also helps in reducing tension (yoga exercises for stress relief). But have you wondered what is vinyasa yoga, and what are its benefits for our body and mind? Well, you have come to the right place. We are going to answers all your questions and help you understand this style of yoga better.

What is Vinyasa yoga?

The word Vinyasa means transition. The underlying philosophy behind this style of yoga is the transitory nature of things, i.e., we become something only for a short time and then evolve to another form. Similarly, vinyasa yoga is characterised by the arrangement of poses, that move from one to the next with the help of breaths. It is an ancient practice of spiritual and physical development. In Vinyasa yoga, you have to perform a series of yoga asanas in a smooth and uninterrupted sequence. It is also famously called vinyasa flow yoga. Vinyasa yoga is the brainchild of Krishnamacharya

Vinyasa yoga is a broader term, under which a variety of yoga poses can be combined, such as Ashtanga yoga and power yoga. The main focus of Vinyasa yoga is on combining one’s breath with the movement while changing between the poses.

Vinyasa yoga is different from other forms of yoga because it is fast-paced and demands a lot of physical involvement. It aims at the internal cleansing of the body by raising the body temperature with the help of breath control. Vinyasa yoga helps in achieving a stronger and lighter mind and body.

What is Hot Vinyasa Yoga?

Vinyasa yoga mainly focuses on warming your body before the practice. This exercise is usually performed to loosen up the body muscles and allow them to stretch so that you can practice the poses to the fullest extent in relevance to your body allowance. The heat is brought upon by the series of arms-up stretches, and along with the heating space around you to a specific temperature. Hot or heated vinyasa classes are conducted in an area heated to between 78 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It is very important to stay hydrated, as hot vinyasa yoga causes more sweat as compared to other exercises. 

The main focus of Vinyasa yoga is on combining the breath with a smooth flow of a series of yoga asanas. It is an active yoga, where you quickly shift from one pose to another. Many studies have shown that yoga helps people to stay active, relieves stress, and also improves mood. It is also good for weight loss if combined with good eating habits. 

You can perform this yoga on your period days as well. You should only avoid performing these poses if suffering from additional stress on the pelvis.
 

Features of Vinyasa Flow Yoga

Let us discuss the features of vinyasa yoga to understand it better.

  • Vinyasa style of yoga is marked by a constant presence of movement. Whether is the movement from one pose to the other or the movement of the heart (yoga for heart) when it is beating while holding a pose.

  • The movement in vinyasa yoga is aligned with breath. Hence, this form of yoga is also widely known as the “breath-synchronized practice”.

  • The vinyasa style of yoga inter-links one pose to the next with the help of breaths, just like a continuous flow of well-aligned poses. This is why this form of yoga is also called as ‘flow yoga’.

  • It is also considered as ‘moving meditation’ as it teaches how to build a harmonious balance, fluid, and flexible movement sequence.

  • One can learn a variety of asana in a class of vinyasa yoga which are taught using the art of balance and continuity.

  • Vinyasa yoga causes the body to generate heat and is an excellent cardiovascular exercise.

What are the benefits of Vinyasa yoga?

  • Vinyasa yoga is easy to learn. But it requires some time and consistent efforts to truly master this style of yoga.

  • It is excellent for those who want to learn a more athletic form of yoga as it makes the heart beat faster. It pumps you up and makes your sweat.

  • It is a fun form of yoga that improves your balancing skills.

  • It is a good way to activate your body. 

  • The smooth and continuity in the flow of the poses ensure your flexibility.

  • It also helps to keep your joints healthy (yoga for joint pain). 

  • If you pair this yoga with a good healthy diet will help you to reduce weight (yoga for weight loss). 

  • This exercise is also beneficial for your regular periods.

  • According to the studies, the long term practice of vinyasa yoga can help you to improve muscle tone and high metabolism rate.

Mental benefits

  • One of the major benefits of vinyasa yoga is that it works as a tool to calm your mind and also reduces stress.

  • According to the professional studies, it has shown that people practicing vinyasa yoga reported with stress relief, good mood, and feeling calmer for a long period (Yoga for calmer mind). 

  • It also helps people to avoid continuous eating and be more cautious about their fitness and good eating habits

Can beginners practice Vinyasa yoga?

Absolutely! If you’re a beginner and thinking of trying out vinyasa yoga, then you will not only learn the yoga poses, but also about moving and controlling your breath smoothly in between changing the poses. The connection of the breath between the movements is very crucial, in yoga. First, you will be taught about when and how to inhale, as well as hold, and release the breath while doing yoga. You must let your vinyasa yoga teacher decide the intensity and pace of the routine that works best for you. With time and continuity, your body flexibility will increase and you will surely progress to higher intensity routines. 

What are some of the Vinyasa yoga poses?

Here are some of the basic flow yoga poses to give you an idea of the asanas involved in Vinyasa yoga. To properly understand how to change in between poses, visit a professional vinyasa yoga instructor for the classes.

Downward Facing Dog Pose 

It is a standing pose that builds strength while stretching the entire body. It is named after the way how dogs naturally stretch their entire bodies.

How to do it:

  • Start on your hands and knees. Then align your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. The fold of your wrists should be parallel with the top fringe of your mat.

  • Now stretch your elbows and relax your upper back.

  • Then, spread your fingers wide and press firmly through your palms and knuckles. Now distribute your weight evenly across your hands.

  • Now, exhale as you tuck your toes and lift your knees off the ground. Gently begin to straighten your legs, but don't lock your knees. Bring your body into the form of an "A." Now, don’t walk your feet closer to your hands.

  • Now move equally through your heels and therefore the palms of your hands. Then firm the outer muscles of your arms and press your index fingers into the ground. Lift from the inner muscles of your arms to the highest of both shoulders.

  • Engage your quadriceps. Rotate your thighs inward as you lift your sit bones high. Sink your heels toward the ground.

  • Align your ears together with your upper arms. 

  • Hold for 5-100 breaths. Lastly, exhale as you gently bend your knees and come back to your hands and knees.

 

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Cautions

Don’t do it if you are in your late pregnancy. This should be avoided by the people who are suffering from kind of back injury, arms, neck, or shoulders, with high blood pressure. If you've got any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.

Mountain pose (Tadasana)

Mountain Pose is the foundation for every single standing posture. It gives you a feeling of how to ground into your feet and feel the earth beneath you. Mountain posture may seem "basically standing," however there is a ton going on.

How to do it:

  • Press down ten toes as you spread them open.

  • Now draw in your quadriceps to lift your kneecaps and lift through the internal thighs.

  • Draw your abdominals in and up as you lift your chest and press the top points of the shoulders down.

  • Feel your shoulder bones coming towards one another and open your chest; however, keep your palms facing inwards towards the body.

  • Now imagine a string drawing the crown of the head up to the roof and inhale deeply into the middle. Hold for 5-8 breaths.

 

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Cautions 

If you are suffering from asthma, or have any kind of body pain like neck pain or knee pain, do not perform this pose without the recommendation from your doctor.
 

Utthita Trikonasana or Extended triangle pose 

Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) is a foundation yoga pose across almost every different sort of yoga. You'll almost certainly encounter it within your first few yoga classes and for years to return. Establish the inspiration of the pose with grounded feet and powerful legs allow the chest to twist deeply and blossom open. 

How to do it:

  • Stand straight on the mat together with your feet wide apart. Now turn your left foot out and switch your right foot slightly inward.

  • Face forward and take a deep breath while raising your arms bent the sides so that they form a triangle together with your torso.

  • Exhale and reach your left hand down to your shin as close to the ankle. Bend as far as you'll and at an equivalent time lift your right arm so that the tips of your fingers are pointing to the ceiling.

  • Bring the sides of your torso parallel to the ground. Your neck should be in line together with your torso.

  • Look up at your right hand and take 2-3 deep breaths. Then repeat an equivalent on the opposite side.



 

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Cautions

Avoid this pose if you've got an injury to your back, neck, hips, or shoulders. You'll wish to avoid it if you've got a headache or migraine.

Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank pose)

 Chaturanga Dandasana or the Plank Pose is an asana that's almost like a plank. Chaturanga means four-limbed because the asana requires the support of your four limbs. Practice it in the morning with an empty stomach. It's a beginner level Vinyasa yoga poses. Hold it for 30 to 60 seconds

How to do it:

  • Start on your hands and knees, together with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Breathe smoothly and evenly through your nose.

  • Spread your fingers and press down through your forearms and hands. Don't let your chest collapse.

  • Now gaze down between your hands, lengthening the back of your neck and drawing your abdominal muscles toward your spine.

  • Tuck your toes and step back together with your foot, bringing your body and head into one line.

  • Keep your thighs lifted and take care to not let your hips sink too low. If your butt sticks up within the air, realign your body so your shoulders are directly above your wrists. 

  • Now draw your pelvic floor muscles toward your spine as you contract your abdominal muscles. Keep your head in line together with your spine. Broaden across your shoulder blades and your collarbones.

  • Then press the front of your thighs that is quadriceps up toward the ceiling of the room while lengthening your tailbone toward your heels. Now hold the pose while breathing smoothly for five breaths. 

  • If you're using the pose to build strength and stamina, hold for up to 5 minutes. To release, slowly lower onto your knees, then press back to Child's Pose and rest.

 

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Cautions 

Do not perform this pose in your Kare pregnancy. If suffering from fever or headache avoid performing this pose.If you are eager to explore vinyasa flow yoga, then it’s a good idea to look for a professional vinyasa yoga instructor. He/she will help you to give a good start. If you’ve got any kind of injury in the past, consult your doctor before practicing these yogas. Till then happy health to you!

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