What is Vinyasa?

Have you considered stepping up your practice and taking a Vinyasa Yoga class?  But have been reluctant about it because you don’t know what’s involved?  Let’s try and get to the core of what ‘Vinyasa’ stands for and how it is incorporated in Yogita Yoga’s classes.
Our interpretation of ‘Vinyasa’ is strongly linked to the tradition of Krishnamacharya and his students, who developed the method of ‘Vinyasa Krama’: in the broadest sense, it means the “intelligent and systematic linking of movement with breath.”
Yoga Asana practiced in a Vinyasa-style links a moving flow of postures (asana) with the Ujjayi breath, whilst retaining a focus on a specific gaze-point (‘drishti’).  Probably the most well-known form of a Vinyasa flow sequence are sun salutations (Surya Namaskara A and B):  Here, we are using one breath for each postures to flow from one to another and ‘resting’ for 5 breaths in Downward Dog.   Click here for a demonstration of Surya Namaskara A.
The linking of movement with the Ujjayi breath develops internal and external heat which brings a purifying aspect to the practice.  The gaze point (‘drishti’) retains a one-pointed focus and helps to achieve correct alignment: You may have heard me saying “Where the eyes go, is where the body goes.”  As our eyes are directing the body to the point where the posture can be fully expressed, practicing the asana with the correct drishti avoids misalignment and potential injury.  The full expression of a posture (which may be different for each individual), which includes breath, drishti and asana, is the catalyst for changes that transcend past the realm of physical health and can have deep therapeutic and spiritual effects.  While these effects may not be obvious straight away, the more your practice deepens and the more you become familiar with the sequence of postures, the more you will start to become sensitive to small changes in your body and mind.  It is this proverbial journey that we are on that may take us into unknown territory – but such is the joy of traveling: to discover new things and maybe meet a new side of yourself.

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