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Vinyasa Yoga 101

What It Is

Vinyasa Yoga is a type of yoga that developed as an offshoot of Ashtanga yoga. It may have developed to accommodate people who felt that Ashtanga yoga was too rigid and strict. Ashtanga yoga is a type of yoga that was developed by a 20th century guru by the name of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. In comparison to most other types of yoga, Ashtanga is powerful, dynamic, and strict in terms of the way the poses are done. Unlike Vinyasa, one must master a given stage or pose before moving on to the next level.

With Vinyasa yoga, students have the freedom to progress based on their own capacity. Although Vinyasa contains almost all the poses found in Ashtanga, students do not have to follow the same sequence when performing them. One is free to move to another more accommodative pose when he or she feels that they are unable to master the previous one.

As new styles of yoga keep developing, there are numerous offshoots that have developed under Vinyasa. These include Flow Yoga, Power Yoga, Prana Yoga, Anusara, Hot Vinyasa, and Jivamukti.

The poses in Vinyasa are unique in that they flow in a dynamic sequence. The performance of Vinyasa involved synchronizing continuously flowing postures with one’s breathe. By combining these flowing movements, one can improve health, strength, flexibility, stamina, and calm the mind. The combination of breathing and postures is an important part of Vinyasa Yoga.

The Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga

Like most other types of yoga, Vinyasa offers numerous benefits to students, once a person commits to it. Here are some of them:

Self-understanding

The fact that Vinyasa is not as strict as Ashtanga and some other forms of yoga, it offers something else instead. A chance to self-evaluate. While members still benefit from the exercise part of it, the real benefits are in engaging with oneself, understanding yourself and even knowing how to love yourself.

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Improves Health

Vinyasa movement helps engage various organs in the body thereby improving their overall state. For example, the poses help open up the muscles, practice the joints, improving bodily air circulation, and thereby decongesting the body organs.

Offers a Chance to Meditate

The form of meditation offered in Vinyasa Yoga is dynamic. This is because tutors encourage participants to engage their minds fully even as they make the flow movements. There is no completeness in Vinyasa without strong mental engagement.

Organization of the Classes

When joining a yoga class, there are four key areas that one should endeavor to understand. These are:

Breathing and Movement – Here you learn when, how, and when to incorporate breathing into the yoga movements.

Understanding Sun Salutations – Each Vinyasa class incorporates these salutations making them a basic component.

How to Vary and Adapt to the various movements. – Since Vinyasa is not a rigid yoga class, it is important to know when to transition to the next step.

Finally, understand alignments and transitions. These are the basics of Vinyasa and they are easy to learn and understand.

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Yoga for the Body, Mind, Breath and Lifestyle

Yoga for the Body, Mind, Breath and Lifestyle

Yoga is a diverse practice and has so much to offer to anyone who takes it up. There are 4 main aspects that make yoga quite versatile. These aspects are:

Body
Mind
Breath
Lifestyle

Body

There are a number of body locks, which are referred to as Bandhas and yoga postures, known as asanas. These work together with purification exercises known as shatkarma to keep the body healthy and strong. For most people, this is the level of yoga that they know and assume it all to be, but in reality it is just the introductory step.

This is the level of yoga that mainly focuses on the postures and has a wide array of benefits like lowering blood pressure, lowering sugar levels, regulating the production of the stress hormone cortisol and much more. Each pose comes with a set of benefits which are healthy and have therapeutic effects. In essence, as far as the body goes, yoga is a preventive medicine, with a wide array of benefits.

Breath

The breathing exercises in yoga are known as pranayama, and this has a great connection with the function of the mind. As such, when you start practicing the breathing exercises in yoga, your mental state will improve. This type of yoga allows you to enjoy calmed breathing and also helps to calm the mind.

There are many different types of pranayama techniques, and each will carry its own set of benefits. Over and above the breathing techniques, yoga is essential for your emotional wellbeing, meditation as well as physical health. Ideally, this will involve a seated posture and taking deep breaths through the nose.

Mind

This is another core aspect of yoga, where the focus is on meditation. There are no postures in this type of yoga as the objective is to meditate effectively. There are several types of meditation that can be used for the mind, with the most common ones being:

Mantra: In this case, you will keep repeating a certain sacred word throughout the session, while focusing on a feeling that can resonate with that word. This is also known as Japa.
Chakra: This type of meditation requires one to keep their mind focused on one of the 7 main energies that are in the body. During this time, you will be required to visualize a number of mantras.
Trataka: With this type of meditation, you will gaze on an object such as a candle with your eyes wide open. Then you should close your eyes and still be able to have that image in their mind.

Lifestyle

With all these options of yoga, you can adopt yoga as a lifestyle. This will allow you to integrate all the core values into your life without much difficulty. With yoga, you can give your body the flexibility it requires, and as such, you will enjoy holistic health. Your mind, breath, and body are the core pillars of your life. With the core aspects provided above, you will be able to lead a yoga lifestyle and reap its multitude of benefits.

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