The word “vinyasa” can be translated as “arranging something in a special way”. Like yoga poses, students coordinate movement and breath while flowing from one pose to the next. Vinyasa is also the term used to describe specific sequences commonly used during a vinyasa class. Like the movement from Chaturanga, Up Dog, Down dog, etc…
Vinyasa means breathing and movement of the principle of breath. For each movement, there is one breath. For example, in Surya Namskar vinyasas there are nine. The first is the inspiration for the first vinyasa while raising your arms above your head, and putting your hands together, the second vinyasa while exhaling and leaning forward, placing your hands next to your feet , etc. In this way all asanas are assigned a number of vinyasas.
The following aspects are specified by Pattabhi Jois defined as the main components of Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient system of yoga that was taught by Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta. This text was sent to Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the early 1900’s by his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari, and was then sent to Pattabhi Jois during the duration of his studies with Krishnamacharya, beginning in 1927.
Another major principle of Vinyasa Yoga is the bandha, or muscle locking/contraction, which assists you in retaining a pose and moving safely in and out of poses. There are 3 Bandhas.
1 Mūla Bandha, performed by tightening the muscles around the pelvic and perineum area.
2 Uḍḍīyāna Bandha, by bringing the navel in towards the spine and slightly up. contracting the muscles of the lower abdominal area.
3 Jālaṅdhara Bandha, is achieved by lowering the chin slightly while raising the sternum bringing the gaze to the tip of the nose.
Vinyasa Practice Today
Vinyasa classes are often quite dynamic, which requires the mind to stay focused in the present. The practice itself is like a moving meditation.
The pace can vary and there is no one particular sequence that teachers follow, so if you tried a Vinyasa class and didn’t like it, try another teacher!
Most vinyasa yoga classes begin with sun salutations – a sequence of postures done in succession. Many Vinyasa Flow classes incorporate some kind of meditation before and/or after the class too.
Benefits of a regular practice
- Calming – The steady cycle of inhales and exhales provides you with a calming, mental focal point.
- Purification of body -The continual movements, from one pose to another, gives you an added cardiovascular benefit creating internal heat. The increased circulation and sweat leads to purification of the body.
- Increase muscle strength & flexibility – the routines, weather they are slow paced or fast paced are a great workout for your body.
- Brings you to the present – Yoga opens you up to this moment, which is all there is and which is the doorway to experience truth and real happiness.