What is Vinyasa?

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Vinyasa is a term used for linking breath to movement. It has taken on a style of its own over the past few decades, but the true meaning is movement with breath. Most vinyasa style yoga classes take the hatha form of yoga and link flowing poses together using the breath to guide each movement. These classes are great for those seeking a little more calorie burn in their yoga.

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Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word meaning to "place in a certain way" and most commonly is used in yoga as meaning "a flowing practice (Vinyasa Flow)" linking breath (an inhale or exhale) to each movement. The breath pattern dictates the length of holds in the postures and the flowing journey between the postures. Often times in vinyasa-style classes you will hear the teacher direct when to inhale and when to exhale in order to put emphasis on the breath and movement. The purpose of vinyasa is to create additional internal heat, aid further circulation, and further detoxification or purification. This style is invigorating and the breath and movement create this additional energy leaving you feeling strong and uplifted. For the most part, this is a fairly physically active yoga practice incorporating mostly standing and balancing postures with seated meditation and/or breathing techniques (pranayama) at the beginning and/or end of the class. Vinyasa is one of the main components of Ashtanga Yoga. Vinyasa is a very broad term in yoga and is interchangeable with the term Flow. There are many different kinds of Flow classes such as Slow Flow, Vinyasa Flow, Power Flow, Vinyasa II, and so on. Vinyasa is also commonly used in place of saying Sun Salutation or in Sanskrit, Surya Namaskar. Depending on the tradition, when a teacher says to move through your vinyasa, they are referring to specifically the Sun Salutation sequence which consists of a series of 11 postures.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.