Vinyasa flow yoga is probably one of the most popular forms of yoga in the US. It is the most common type which is taught in the gyms and yoga studios. For the sake of identification, Vinyasa flow yoga is also known as Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, yoga for athletes, power yoga or just “flow”. The Vinyasa flow is actually the flow in relation to the physical aspect of the workout which is done in a yoga class. It is very strenuous. Sometimes even the room is heated by teachers to create the most adverse of conditions.
There are a few great names attached to this form of yoga. Some of them are Seane Corne, Shiva Rea and Rodney Yee. All of these people are exponents of the Vinyasa flow yoga form, but each of them has a unique approach to the form. For instance, there is Baron Baptiste’s Power Vinyasa and the Jivamukti yoga.
Given below are the basic steps that one should expect to follow while performing the Vinyasa flow yoga:
Crouch on the ground on all fours.
While inhaling, raise the chest and tailbone and drop the navel towards the floor.
While exhaling, the tailbone needs to be tucked under.
At the same time the spine should be arched towards the ceiling and the chin should be tucked to the chest.
This is a kind of shortcut routine, and is known as the cat-cow stretch. A longer but still simple version is described below:
Start in the Ardho Muka Svanasana pose (dog pose, downward facing).
As you inhale, stretch your right leg up and back.
Exhale and place the right foot between your hands and push the back toes outwards, and drop the left heel to the floor.
Inhale and place the hands in the Virbhadrasana pose ( also known as Warrior I pose).
Exhale and place the arms outwards to shoulder level and open out the torso to the left into Warrior II pose.
Inhale and make the right leg straight and extend the right arm upwards in the direction of the ceiling.
Exhale and reach in the direction of the front of the yoga mat. While doing this, put the right hand on your right shin in the Trikonasana pose (meaning triangle).
While inhaling, the right knee should be bent lifted back up to Virabhadrasana II.
Finally, exhale and cartwheel both the hands on to the floor on both sides of the right foot and step again into Ardho Mukha Sivasana.
The benefits of Vinyasa flow yoga can be divided into categories of physical and emotional.
Vinyasa flow yoga helps in gaining balance and flexibility
There will be an increase in endurance and general stamina.
There is a strengthening of the muscles and they stretch.
There is an overall increase in coordination and balance.
There is an improvement in the healing capacity of the body.
With the increase in energy and body heat, the blood flow is stronger leading to more oxygenation of the organs with enhanced blood supply.
Vinyasa flow yoga results in a general revitalization of the essential organs.
The breathing techniques help in balancing and controlling the body.
The state of emotional well-being is achieved.
One becomes more aware of the capabilities and limitations of the body.
There is an increased sense of calmness.
One begins to focus on the inner being rather than the outside world.
There is a marked improvement in sense of perception and mental awareness gets well developed too.
Although there are numerous benefits from the practice of Vinyasa flow yoga, it should also be kept in mind that injuries are also possible. So it is important to practice this in consultation with a professional instructor. Also, follow the prescribed diet, and if you are going in for a new set of exercises, do consult your doctor. Last but not the least; do not overdo practicing Vinyasa flow yoga in order to make it a pleasurable experience.