What is the Vinyasa flow?
The Vinyasa flow is a collection of poses that run smoothly together, one after the other. It is the most popular, contemporary style of yoga, and the most common form of yoga taught in classes. The movement in and out of each pose is synchronised to breathing.
The term Vinyasa is often linked with the transition between the plank, to chaturanga, to upward-facing dog, to downward-facing dog. However, nowadays, Vinyasa can involve a wide range of poses.
Flow it out at your pace
Vinyasa is about being in the moment. While many people complete their Vinyasa flow at a constant speed, you don’t need to rush it. Try to avoid quick, harsh or jolty movements.
Vinyasa focuses on the flow of the movements. The more you practise the Vinyasa flow, the more you will – quite literally – flow! It takes time to get used to each position and, the more you do it, the more you will get used to flowing in and out of each pose.
Once you get used to the Vinyasa flow, it is common to flow through poses more quickly, because our bodies become used to each pose. However, Vinyasa yogis should take the time to move with strong form and care, rather than moving with speed.
Breathe through it
As with most types of yoga, breathing is always the focal point. All movements during the Vinyasa flow should be synchronised with the inhalation and exhalation of the yogi’s breath.
Vinyasa promotes a conscious connection between mind, body and breath. You need to slow down when your breath becomes shortened or when you start to hold your breath during poses.
Vinyasa flow teachers explain that, once you’ve lost control of your breath, you’ve lost control of your body and flow, which can lead to injury and mindless movements. Vinyasa flow is all about keeping movement and breath in sync.
If you find yourself breathing too quickly or holding your breath, resting is always an option and you shouldn’t be hard on yourself about it. Vinyasa is about honouring and respecting your body so, if you find a pose difficult, come back down into your child’s pose for 4–6 inhalations and exhalations before trying your challenging pose again.
Time to align
Regardless of how quickly you like to flow, alignment is key. Just as you should maintain your form and posture, alignment should be at the forefront of your mind. Vinyasa is all about staying aligned and moving mindfully.
Even if you are used to flowing quickly, Vinyasa yogis should make a conscious effort to slow right down once in a while, so that they can really focus on their alignment and ensure their bodies haven’t become too used to the poses.
Just like with dancing, Vinyasa flow links every movement, so teachers say it is important that you focus on the transitions. The more you practise, the more you’ll be able to gracefully link each pose, which is what Vinyasa flow is all about.
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