A daily Vinyasa Yoga practice will keep you toned and energized. The fluidity of the style is attractive to yogis at all levels of experience, although some beginners may find it more challenging.
What Is Vinyasa Yoga?
If you've ever practiced the Sun Salutation Sequence, then you've performed Vinyasa Yoga. In Sanskrit, vi means "in a special way", and nyasa means, "to place". The term Vinyasa is used to describe a style of yoga, as well as a category of other forms of yoga. A more precise meaning of Vinyasa is a method by which a student uses a combination of movement and breath to cycle from one point to another. The journey to the pose is as important as the pose itself.
In some yoga styles, a practitioner moves into a pose, holds it, releases it, and moves to another pose. Vinyasa teaches us that to use breath to link the motion is as important as the pose itself. The philosophy of Vinyasa can be incorporated into any form of yoga style. So, if you'd like to establish a daily Vinyasa Yoga practice, one option is to adapt to more of a flow sequence of your regular postures connected by breath.
Establishing a Daily Vinyasa Yoga Practice
Remember, any yoga postures may be used with Vinyasa breath. Here's one example of an energizing standing sequence:
- Begin in Mountain Pose
- Lower to Forward Fold
- Return to Mountain Pose
- Lower to Forward Fold again
- Extend one leg back for Low Lunge
- Rise into Downward Facing Dog
- Reach into Plank Pose
- Extend the other leg back for Low Lunge
- Back into Downward Facing Dog
- Return to Plank Pose
- Evolve into Side Plank Pose
- Return to Plank
- Rotate into Side Plank on the other side
- Step into Downward Facing Dog
- Slide into Upward Facing Dog
- Bring one leg forward for Pigeon Pose
- Step back into Upward Facing Dog
- Bring the other leg forward for Pigeon.
- Extend back into Downward Facing Dog
- Return to Forward Fold
- Stand up in Mountain Pose
You can introduce sitting postures such as Side Twist and Cow-Faced Pose after you complete Pigeon Pose instead of returning to standing. To conclude the entire sequence, lie in Savasana, or Corpse Pose, for relaxation.
Visit our Yoga Pose Gallery for examples of these postures.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
The yoga guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois is the founder of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga six series, and this is another option for your daily Vinyasa practice. The Sun Salutation Sequence is the opening session, and may be performed up to 10 times. View a slideshow of those postures.
To continue in the Ashtanga Vinyasa style, you would add the Primary series, the Intermediate series, or the Advanced Levels, a backbend, and finally close with an inverted posture. Learn more about this style at Ashtanga.com
DVDs to Try
There are many dynamic and helpful yoga DVDs that demonstrate great Vinyasa flow yoga. Before you build a daily Vinyasa sequence, you might want to practice with some of these and see what you can take away to build your individual style.
- Fluid Power: Vinyasa Flow Yoga by Shiva Rea. The founder of Yoga Shakti created a dance-like Vinyasa flow that features long and short sequences.
- Namaste Yoga by Kate Potter. This popular TV program in Canada and the U.S. is now available on DVD. The program focuses on a gentle but challenging Hatha Vinyasa yoga series.
- Yoga Journal: Baron Baptiste's Foundations of Power Vinyasa Yoga. If you'd like a more athletic practice, try this higher intensity flow.