Yoga Style - Vinyasa - Uniyoga Dublin Yoga classes
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Yoga Style – Vinyasa

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yoga-style-vinyasa_dublin

Vinyasa also called “flow” is one of the most popular contemporary Yoga Style (Vinyasa). It’s a broad classification that encompasses many different types of yoga, including Ashtanga and power yoga.

What Is Vinyasa?

In this Yoga Style Vinyasa stands in opposition to hatha. Hatha classes tend to focus on one pose at a time with rest in between. In contrast, flow classes string poses together to make a sequence. The sequence may be fixed, as in Ashtanga in which the poses are always done in the same order, but most of the time vinyasa teachers have the discretion to arrange the progression of poses in their own ways.

In vinyasa yoga, each movement is synchronized to a breath. The breath is given primacy, acting as an anchor as you move from one pose to the next.

A cat-cow stretch is an example of a very simple vinyasa. The spine is arched on an inhale and rounded on an exhale. A sun salutation sequence is a more complex vinyasa. Each movement in the series is cued by an inhalation or an exhalation of the breath.

Vinyasa’s strength is in its diversity. If you appreciate having things a little loose and unpredictable and like to keep moving, this style is definitely worth a try.

In most cases, there is no single philosophy, rulebook, or sequence that teachers must follow, so there is a lot of room for individual personalities and quirks to come through.

 

What to Expect

Vinyasa allows for a lot of variety, but will almost always include sun salutations. Expect to move from pose to pose. Whether the class is fast or slow, includes advanced poses, or is alignment-oriented will depend on the individual teacher and the particular style in which he or she is trained. Some classes include warm-up stretches while others launch straight into standing poses.

Some very popular yoga styles fall under the vinyasa umbrella, including Jivamukti, CorePower, Baptiste Power Vinyasa, and Modo. If a class is simply identified as vinyasa, it may use aspects of several different traditions. The one thing you can be sure of is the flow between poses. The rest is up to the teacher, but you can expect to go through any combination of the poses below.

Going Through Your Vinyasa

woman doing cobra pose
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

When vinyasa is used as a noun, it describes a series of three poses that are done as part of a sun salutation sequence. When teachers say, “Go through the vinyasa at your own pace,” they mean to do a Plank, Chaturanga, and Upward-Facing Dog (or their equivalent variations), using your breath to measure when to move on to the next pose.

If you start to get tired and this affects the quality of your poses, it’s very acceptable to skip the vinyasa and wait for the class in Downward Facing Dog.

You can do a beginner or advanced version of the vinyasa.

The beginner’s version:

  1. Plank
  2. Knees, Chest, Chin
  3. Cobra
  4. Downward Facing Dog

The advanced version:

  1. Plank
  2. Chaturanga Dandasana
  3. Upward Facing Dog
  4. Downward Facing Dog

Beginner’s Version

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Begin in a plank position. This is usually arrived at by stepping or jumping back from the front of your mat. If plank is too much for you, you can always drop your knees to the floor. Keep shoulders stacked over wrists and hips in line with shoulders. Lengthen forward through the crown of your head and out through your heels.

Lower to Knees, Chest, and Chin

Lower to Knees, Chest, and Chin
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Exhale to lower your knees, chest, and chin to your mat. Your butt stays high in the air and your elbows point straight back along your sides. This pose is a good warm-up for backbends and helps you develop arm strength.​

Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Inhale and slide forward to a low Cobra Pose. Don’t move your arms. As you lower your hips to the floor, your chest will come forward and lift up off the ground.​ Try to make this lift come from the strength of your back, not pushing down into your hands. Keep little to no weight in your hands while you anchor your pelvis and the tops of your feet to the mat.

 

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Exhale and curl your toes under as you straighten your arms to push back to Downward Facing Dog. You can come through all fours or a Child’s Pose in transition if you want to. In Downward Facing Dog, your hands are shoulder-width apart and your feet are hip-width apart. Keep your spine long; press sits bones towards sky and heels towards the floor.

Advanced Version

Advanced Version: Back to Plank Pose
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Now let’s take a look at the advanced version, which also begins with Plank Pose. During a sun salutation flow, seasoned practitioners will sometimes jump back from Utanasana straight into Chaturanga. In that case, skip the Plank Pose. To prepare to lower from Plank, shift forward onto your tiptoes.

Chaturanga Dandasana
Chaturanga Dandasana
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Exhale and bend your elbows straight back to lower to Chaturanga Dandasana. Your body is in one straight line and your shoulders should be no lower than your elbows. It’s a tough position to hold but try not to rush on to the next pose. Use your leg strength: Press the backs of your knees toward the sky and press into the balls of your feet to help engage the leg muscles.

Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Inhale and straighten your arms, drop your hips, and roll over the toes to the tops of your feet into Upward Facing Dog. You can flip the feet one at a time if that works better for you. Press into your hands and feet to keep your thighs lifted off the floor. Keep your shoulders moving away from your ears.

 

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog
Verywell / Ben Goldstein Yoga Style – Vinyasa

Exhale, roll over the toes and shift your hips up and back to Downward Facing Dog. Take several deep breaths before moving on.

Do the version of the vinyasa that you are most comfortable with. Even if you have a very competent Chaturanga, it’s nice to warm up with a few rounds of Knees, Chest, Chin at the beginning of class.

Some flow classes have a lot of vinyasas. If you get tired and your form starts to slip, go back to the beginners’ version or skip the vinyasa altogether. You can stay in Plank or Downward Facing Dog while you wait. Chaturanga is a tricky pose and injuries are more likely to happen when you’re tired, so play it safe.

Did you enjoy knowing more about this Yoga Style – Vinyasa? What about the others? Take a look at our list of other yoga styles

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