#Vinyasa is probably one of the better known #Yoga styles in the West. It is a North American variation to more traditional types of Yoga, such as Ashtanga Yoga, which consist of a flow of movements. Vinyasa inspired classes are actually often called simply flow, depending on the school of thoughts.
One of the translations of Vinyasa from Sanskrit, the traditional Indian language in which Yoga has been first taught, is To place in a special way. We could interpret that as to organize the body in a specific manner in order to unleash the full benefits of the practice. It emphasizes also on the way to place the body, meaning, the journey of the body from one pose to another. The focus of the practice is not only the asanas themselves, but rather, to the mindfulness of the space, of the transition in between these poses.
Another key element of Vinyasa Yoga is, of course, the breath. We use an equal, steady breath to move our bodies in different ways, and also to keep us fully present and mindful throughout the practice. The breath is the key connector that links all the special ways to place the body together.
The sequence around which the classes are usually created is the famous Surya Namaskar, or Sun salutation. It is a traditional amalgam of specific Yoga asanas done one after the other and designed to energize, stretch and warm up the entire body. Using the breath as a catalyst, the movements and poses come together in a mindful dance that affects every aspect of the being.
Vinyasa Yoga can be adapted to the desire of the teacher, from a slow chain of juicy poses to an energetic one movement per breath fast paced class. The idea behind the linking of movements together is to make the mind focus on the breath and the intention of every movement. One cannot just start thinking of something else during a Vinyasa class, the mind has to be focused and steady to maintain the integrity of the body.
Vinyasa Yoga is a powerful mindfulness practice that will leave you wanting more. For sure.