Vinyasa flow: 15 things you need to know

6 min read

Vinyasa Flow is a wildly popular school of Yoga that synchronizes movement with breath. With classes ranging from Power Flow to Slow Flow, there are styles of this school that match different levels of yogis and their wants and needs.

Many people, both yogis and non-yogis, aren’t sure what this type of Yoga is all about.

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Here are 15 things you should know about Vinyasa flow:

Alignment is important

No matter how fast you practice, alignment is important. It is just as important (if not even more) to maintain the proper alignment and form in static poses to keep your body as safe as possible.

Vinyasa moves at a quicker pace than other forms of Yoga. However, moving faster does not mean that you can move mindlessly. It is a form of moving meditation, so you cannot be mindless.

Breath is important

It is the breath that drives the practice of any yoga school.

Breath is the connection between your mind and your body. When your breathing becomes labored and short, or if you begin to hold your breath in challenging poses, you know it’s time to slow down.

If you lose control of your breath, it can also lead to injuries. Vinyasa flow is designed to sync movement with breath, so breath is important. It is your ultimate guide throughout the physical practice.

You Always Have Options

Vinyasa Flow, as a practice, is often referred to as “all levels.” This means that yogis from all backgrounds, sizes, and abilities can join the practice.

There are many options for students. You can’t do Forearm Standing yet? To prepare for the Forearm Stand, you can build strength and confidence by doing the Dolphin Pose.

Within a Vinyasa, you can choose to either slow down or accelerate the practice. You can also rest or take a variation or modification of a posture.

It’s not always better to be faster.

When we move quickly, and our bodies have done so countless times, our muscle memory kicks into gear, and we fall back on old habits, such as postures we believe to be correct (keyword being considered).

In Vinyasa, as in any other yoga form, it’s crucial to align postures with our physicality. It’s important to learn to move with integrity when you begin to accelerate your flow.

Sometimes, however, slowing down can be the best thing to do. Sometimes, moving slowly and carefully is better for our practice than moving quickly.

Resting is always an option.

In a Vinyasa Flow, resting poses like a child’s pose will always be welcome and accepted. Vinyasa is a form of Yoga that is about respecting and honoring your body. If you feel like you are being pushed too far, you can take a minute to relax and then return to your breathing.

It is not wrong to honor your body and breath. Resting can be a very welcome option.

Never Push through Pain

Vinyasa, like all other forms of Yoga, also does not encourage pushing through pain. Yoga is about finding the balance between strength, surrender, and flexibility.

If in doubt, go slow.

When you are unsure of a pose or transition, go slowly. Vinyasa tends to be a fast-paced practice, but when in doubt, move slowly, mindfully, and with care. Slow and steady is better than a quick and mindless flow.

The magic is all in the transitions.

Vinyasa Flow is a dance that links all movements together. There are no stops and goes. The magic is in the transitions. Linking each position gracefully to the next is a moving mediation and a graceful movement between effort and ease. The breath is the glue that binds it all together.

Chaturanga Gets Easier Over Time

Vinyasa is the flow that transitions from Plank, Chaturanga, Up Dog, and Down Dog. This is not the meaning of the term, but it has gained this reputation due to the fact that Vinyasa Flow is a practice that repeats this sequence.

This flow is really, really hard. like really, really difficult. To perform “Vinyasa” with the correct anatomical alignment takes great muscular control and strength. Don’t worry. The more you practice, the easier it gets.

You’ll eventually develop the strength in your muscles and body awareness necessary to make this transition smoothly. It will become second nature. It would be best if you were not on “autopilot” but instead move mindfully while still following your breath.

Props are your best friends.

Props are your best friends in any form of Yoga. You can use them to befriend and love them. You will be kept safe, they will provide challenges for your practice, and you can benefit in unexpected ways. Props are not to be feared, so use them in all your practices.

Each teacher is different.

There are no two Vinyasa instructors who are alike. Vinyasa Flow is a very personal and creative form of Yoga. Some teachers are very tough and hold poses longer, while others are also very tough and move continuously.

Some teachers are slow and gentle, while others are fast and energetic. Each teacher has a unique style, and each practice that they share with students is different.

You’ll find something new and creative every time.

Vinyasa Flow’s beauty is in the creativity that it can inspire. There are no rules or guidelines and no “set” sequence. There is just the practitioner and their practice.

You can move quickly with music or slowly with silence. All else changes; the only thing that remains constant is the breath. You may open your heart one day and flip your world the next — the possibilities are limitless.

This can be a powerful workout.

Many people believe that Yoga is nothing more than stretching. Vinyasa Flow is a vigorous style of Yoga that can be very intense. While deep stretches and slow movements characterize other schools, Vinyasa Flow can be quite fast-paced.

You’re guaranteed to sweat and work hard if you attend a Vinyasa yoga class. It is a powerful exercise that can build strength and stretch your muscles deeply.

But it is more than “just exercise.”

Yoga is more than physical fitness. The true practice is to train the mind. The real benefits and challenges of practicing yoga are moving with your breath and quieting the “monkey brain.”

This is a Moving Meditation

Yoga is a form of meditation that moves. Vinyasa connects the physical body with the breath. Breath is the guide of the practice, and it initiates all bodily movements.

This perfect synchronization can be euphoric and relaxing. It is truly Yoga. This union is of the body, breath, and mind. The physical body, temporary, and mental bodies. Vinyasa Flow can be described as a form of moving meditation.

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