I often forget that other people don’t know what I know, a common mistake of experts, for sure. So, to help remedy that, I want to explain what is Vinyasa Yoga (called many different things: Slow Flow, Flow, Energetic Flow, etc.) and why I think you’ll love it as much as I do.
Vinyasa Yoga is:
1. A flow. A dance. It’s movement partnered with breath. It’s an inhale to open or elongate your body and an exhale to deepen and fold.
2. It’s an intelligently designed sequence of postures that strengthen and stretch the entire body. Often the instructor will have a specific area of focus for that class (say backbends for example) but none the less, every area of the body should receive a little love, opening, releasing, stretching, and strengthening along the way.
3. A Vinyasa class will often have fun, upbeat, modern music played right along with the traditional Indian yoga music you think of when you think yoga class. Music is used to build up speed and heat and bring us back then into relaxation at the end. A techno dance song can be soon followed by a Steve Wonder slow song without a raise of an eyebrow.
4. It’s a moving meditation. Classes usually start with a seated meditation practice: a breath focused meditation, a hold of a mudra (hand gesture), a feel/sense of a particular body part, an awareness of the inner sanctuary, etc. Meditation has a long history of health benefits.
5. It’s fun and playful! A Vinyasa class will often bring in a posture or pose variation (or two or three) that aren’t “in the book.” This playfulness brings a humility and trust from the students to follow the skilled guidance of the instructor. This may be one of my favorite aspects: childlikeness, humility, trust.
Of course, all yoga is about consulting your body (and perhaps a doctor to see if it’s right for you at this time) and really hearing, feeling, getting to know what is good for you and your body in that moment. There are so many variables on any given day including the food we eat, the sleep we got or didn’t, prior injuries, medications, thoughts, emotions, etc. and each day is new. One more reason to love yoga: it’s an opportunity to learn and familiarize yourself again with your body, mind, and spirit, and live in the moment. The mat (or paddleboard!!) shows us what’s in our hearts and minds and gives us the chance to right it if need be.
The Vinyasa Yoga tradition combines ancient wisdom and experience with modern fun and advances. I hope to see you in a Vinyasa Yoga class soon.
Namaste my friends. xoxo