7 Benefits to Vinyasa Style Yoga
Before I begin to guide you through what I’m learning about Vinyasa styles for your specific Dosha, I thought it would be a good idea to breakdown an interpretation of what the term ‘Vinyasa’ means to me, having recently discovered a deeper understanding of the term myself. One of the first questions I asked in my yoga training was ‘What is a Vinyasa?” I had heard instructors give the directive “take a Vinyasa” as a transition from one sequence to another through Chaturanga -> Updog -> Downdog, so my conclusion was that a Vinyasa was that specific transition. Although that’s not exactly wrong, the definition is much broader than that.
Vinyasa is a style of the physical postures of Yoga. My understanding now of ‘Vinyasa’ is “to proceed step-by-step.” Many classes are labeled ‘Vinyasa Flow’. These classes will follow a more logical sequence of postures in a flow type movement, that connect with the rhythm of breath. It’s a gradual flow of intensity peaking halfway or more during the full sequence. Most often, it includes a progression of postures as if trekking up the side of a mountain, arriving at its ‘peak pose’ at the summit, and then slowing the pace down the other side as a cooldown to the practice. This will ensure that the body is warm, inviting less danger of strain to the body. The cooldown should incorporate counter poses and lighter movement, leading eventually into Savasana.
Done properly, the Vinyasa style of yoga should help recognize the immense importance of our breath. Many of us breathe fairly shallow day to day, into our upper chest. Coupling a yogic flow of movement within a Vinyasa sequence to our breath allows for a deeper connection, for more genuine breath into body. This will ultimately help calm the body & mind, sending a message of unification. Ujjaye breath is always suggested in a Vinyasa practice.
There are an immense amount of benefits to a Vinyasa style practice. Here are a list of 7 adapted from The Yogarahasya, composed by the 9th century yogi Nathamuni:
The use of breath to expand/contract
Continuous movements produce a concentrated focus of mind
The combination of poses in each sequence results in a more balanced “workout” for the whole body
The built-in warm-up/cool-down sequencing ensures a safer, more systematic practice
The stamina required to hold a pose comfortably increases gradually
Practice is more adaptable to life’s changes
The poses can be adapted along the spectrum from milder to intense as well as from brief to prolonged
A true Vinyasa sequence is great for those with a primarily Vata constitution. This allows for deeper concentration & focus and follows a beautiful rhythm of breath. My next series of postings will concentrate further on what I’m learning about the specific style of Vinyasa for your Ayurvedic Dosha.