Those who have studied the practice of yoga in detail have found that it is not only a relaxing discipline where calm is required. Indeed, some yogas are known to be particularly dynamic, to the delight of their followers. Among them is Vinyasa yoga, which is taking an increasingly important place in our society and which seduces a good number of people thanks to the benefits it provides.
The origins of Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa yoga has its source in Ashtanga yoga. Born in India, we owe this practice to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois who, according to history, discovered a manuscript written by the sage Vamana Rishi in the library of Mysore. This manuscript laid the foundation for the series of asanas and the importance of breathing which are an integral part of Vinyasa yoga. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois spent decades popularizing the practice of this yoga throughout the world.
What is Vinyasa Yoga?
Vinyasa is considered to be a true "dynamic yoga" and is a derivative of Ashtanga yoga. Its specificity is the will to harmonize the breathing between each of the postures, while using very dynamic sequences. When we look at it more closely, we can also see that Vinyasa takes some of its foundations from Bikram, especially with regard to the regular change of postures. Concretely, by chaining the postures in a fluid and dynamic manner, it will be possible to rebalance the energies in the body in an optimal way.
The main characteristics of this type of yoga
As mentioned above, Vinyasa yoga is different from other practices because of its dynamic side. It is particularly popular in the West because it allows to mix different criteria such as sport, fluidity, creativity or rhythm. It also makes it possible to perfectly combine the alignment of energies with the practice of a certain sport activity.
What equipment do I need to practice Vinyasa Yoga?
The practice of Vinyasa yoga will not require any specific equipment. However, you can't do without a good yoga mat, which our buying guide will help you choose and a suitable outfit. In order to practice Vinyasa yoga properly, you will need an outfit in which you feel comfortable, but also in which you are free to move freely.
Since it is a fairly physical practice, you can bet on a bra and shorts. In order to be able to perform certain complicated postures, it can also be interesting to use bricks or straps. This allows, at first, to become familiar with certain positions that are not necessarily easy to put in place.
Vinyasa yoga : 5 main postures
1 - The posture of the cobra - Bhujangasana
The cobra posture begins by lying face down on a yoga mat. You will need to join your feet together and rest your palms on the floor at shoulder level, while pointing your fingers forward and keeping your elbows close to your body. The forehead should also be on the floor. As you breathe in, stretch your chin forward and then lift and tilt your head back while opening your chest and pushing your torso forward. Concretely, your torso should lift up without using your hands.
2 - The posture of the pump - Chaturanga Dandasana
Known colloquially as the "pump posture" or "stick position", this position is an integral part of Vinyasa yoga. To perform it, you will have to start with the dog upside down position and then do the board posture. You will have to inhale and exhale while lowering your body to the ground. The body will have to be parallel to the ground while keeping the legs straight.
3 - The Utpluthih posture
This position may require a certain level in terms of yoga practice, but it is still beneficial. To begin, you will need to take the lotus position and place your hands on the ground at each of your hips. As you exhale, you will have to push with your hands on the ground and then lift your legs and buttocks up.
4 - The posture of the boat - Paripurna-navâsana
To begin the posture of the boat, it is first necessary to sit on the ground, on its pins. While squeezing the perineum, you will have to lower your shoulder blades and catch your calves by passing your arms under your thighs. Afterwards, you will be asked to let go of your hands, put your arms parallel to the ground, then stretch your legs and stretch your feet.
5 - The posture of the candle - Salamba Sarvangasana
Also called the shoulder position, this position will ask you to raise your chest and legs in the air, while sticking your sternum to your chin. Your back will be supported with your hands and your elbows will be well anchored in the ground. The goal is to stand as straight as possible while stretching and energizing your legs to the maximum.
What are the benefits of Vinyasa yoga?
1 - On the physical level
From a physical point of view, Vinyasa yoga can help you work on your endurance while improving your breathing capacity. You will also enjoy a real boost in energy and stronger muscles.
2 - On the mental level
Vinyasa yoga remains one of the best disciplines for all people who tend to have a mind that goes in all directions. Indeed, by being perfectly focused on the movements to be performed, it is possible to work on one's ability to stay focused on the present moment. It should be noted that this yoga also contributes to improving our ability to concentrate and the quality of our sleep.
3 - On the emotional level
On an emotional level, Vinyasa yoga could be an excellent ally, especially in the management of stress and anxiety. It will also allow you to work considerably on letting go and to put this state of mind to good use on a daily basis. It is the perfect discipline for anyone who would like to cut a little bit of the daily hassle.
Who is Vinyasa Yoga for?
Even though Vinyasa yoga is intended for all types of people, it is still advisable to be in good physical condition to begin with. Of course, you don't have to be a top athlete to do it, but you should not forget that the dynamism it requires involves walking your muscles and endurance. For people who have not been doing sports for a long time, it is therefore advisable to turn to forms of yoga that are a little more accessible before considering the practice of Vinyasa. Note that it may also be interesting to start with classes for beginners in order to avoid getting too lost.
How does a Vinyasa yoga session take place?
When participating in a Vinyasa yoga session, you will have to use a sequence of different postures, while taking into account the notion of breathing. This sequence is done in a tonic and fluid way. Concretely, throughout the classes, you will be able to fully benefit from what is called "meditation in movement".
However, in order to fully succeed, you will need to be attentive at all times. Far from being a disadvantage, this will allow you to work on your presence of mind and not get lost. Even if dynamism is essential, it is advisable to set aside a few moments for meditation, at the beginning and end of the session.
Vinyasa Yoga: Frequently Asked Questions
How to find a studio near you?
In order to practice Vinyasa Yoga properly, you will need to find the right studio. There is nothing better than participating in a group class to improve your practice. However, be careful to follow sessions that are in accordance with your level.
To find the studio that best suits your needs, you can turn to the internet or word of mouth. In order to be sure to find a class that suits you, don't hesitate to ask for advice from people around you who are already yoga enthusiasts and who can give you the best advice.
Vinyasa or Hatha yoga?
The major criterion that will have to push you in your choice is your physical capacity. Concretely, if you have not practiced sports for a long time, it will be advisable to turn to hatha yoga which is a good way to start. Vinyasa yoga is more for people who have the ability to use their muscles in an intense and dynamic way. Nothing prevents you from starting with hatha yoga to familiarize yourself with the practice and then migrate to Vinyasa classes when you feel ready.
If you want to know more about Vinyasa yoga, you can look at books that deal with the subject. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with this discipline before you start.
In short, Vinyasa yoga is a must for anyone who wants to combine meditation and physical exercise.