What Is Vinyasa Yoga?

Written by , BA Shirin Mehdi BA Experience: 3 years
Last Updated on

As if the practice of yoga is not intriguing enough, you have the different kinds of yogas to choose from – Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram, etc.

Vinyasa Yoga simply means movement linked with breath. The postures are strung together either in a short or a longer flow.

The Vinyasa style of yoga is incredibly dynamic. This means that your mind has to remain focused and in the present to be able to keep up with the flow of the practice. Also, when you focus, you avoid drifting away. Thus, you are in tandem with your body, instead of being stuck in your head.

The Vinyasa Yoga 101

  1. What Is Vinyasa Flow?
  2. The Principles And Philosophies Underlying The Practice
  3. Benefits Of Vinyasa Yoga
  4. The Vinyasa Practice Today
  5. What Is Vinyasa Krama?

What Is Vinyasa Flow?

Vinyasa Yoga, much like the other forms of yoga, stems from Hatha Yoga. Vinyasa refers to the alignment of breath with movement. This turns the otherwise static asanas into a more dynamic flow.

The modern forms of Vinyasa flow, also called the Power Yoga and flow, are commonly described as a freestyle Ashtanga. They don’t stick to the rigid structure of the practice.

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The Principles And Philosophies Underlying The Practice

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As asserted, Vinyasa is the perfect coordination of breath with movement. Considering that, these are the philosophies and principles this practice follows.

Specific Movements

Vinyasa refers to a very specific series of movements that frequent themselves between each asana in a series. This is at the yoga instructor’s discretion, which is why it is important that you pick an expert carefully.


The length of time you inhale or exhale determines the length of time you spend in transition between the asanas. You must pay attention to your breath and the journey between the asanas, instead of only perfecting the body alignment. You must breathe using a relaxed diaphragmatic style while practicing this style of yoga. It should seem like the sound of the ocean resonating in your throat – Ujjayi style of breathing.

Muscle Contractions

The Vinyasa Yoga also pays heed to the Bandha or muscle locking, which gives you the ability to safely and smoothly transition into and out of each asana. There are three major Bandhas:

  1. The Mula Bandha, which is performed by tightening the muscles in the perineum and pelvic areas.
  1. The Uddiyana Bandha, which is performed by pulling the navel in towards the spine, and then moving slightly up. This helps to contract the muscles in the lower abdomen.
  1. The Jalandhara Bandha, which is performed by gently lowering the chin, while you lift up the sternum and shift your gaze to the tip of your nose.

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Benefits Of Vinyasa Yoga

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These are some amazing benefits of practicing the Vinyasa Yoga.

1. Instills A Sense Of Calm

There is a steady cycle formed as you inhale and exhale. This helps to calm both your mind and your body.

2. Detoxes The Entire Body

The coordinated movements from one pose to another generate internal heat and act as a cardio workout. This lets you sweat it out, thus helping in the purification of the body.

3. Helps Increase Flexibility And Muscle Strength

Whether your practice is slow-paced or fast-paced, it makes for a great workout for your body.

4. Allows You To Stay In The Present

Yoga helps you to live in the moment, and this is the doorway to truth and happiness.

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The Vinyasa Practice Today

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If you enroll yourself for a Vinyasa Yoga class, you will find that it is usually quite dynamic. A Vinyasa practice requires you to stay focused and in the present. The practice is comparable to meditation, and is often called a moving meditation.

The pace may vary depending on the instructor, so if the class is too fast or too slow for your liking, you might want to change your instructor.

A usual Vinyasa class starts with Surya Namaskaras. There are a few classes that incorporate meditation before and/or after the class.

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What Is Vinyasa Krama?

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Vinyasa Krama is a step-by-step progression into a certain goal. This goal could be a complex or advanced asana.

Let us break down this concept further.

Vinyasa is the synchronizing of breath and movement.

Krama is to progress step by step.

So when you undertake Vinyasa Krama yoga, you basically grow into something. In this case, you move from a simple to a more complex asana. You prepare yourself before you get into the advanced or “peak pose”.

Usually, a Vinyasa Krama sequence would be based on an individual theme, for example, a forward bend theme or a back bend theme. But your instructor would also work on making the class a rounded one, concentrating on each part that needs work as you progress into the peak pose.

Most students find that adding a Vinyasa Krama to the Vinyasa Flow makes a lot more sense to the mind and the body. The body seems to be prepared when it comes to the more complicated asanas, and the systematic flow keeps you calm and energized.

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As you explore the depths of yoga, be sure to add the Vinyasa Flow/Krama to your practice. It is one of the most effective and systematic methods of yoga. You are sure to love it!

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Shirin Mehdi
Shirin MehdiHealth & Wellness Writer
Shirin is a health and wellness writer with three years of experience and specializes in writing articles on yoga and has extensive knowledge about the postures of the asanas. Prior to joining Stylecraze, she interned with an advertising firm as a copywriter and as an editorial intern for a luxury fashion magazine.

Read full bio of Shirin Mehdi
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