With its dynamic style, Vinyasa yoga emphasizes the synchronization of breath and movement. Its regular practice sculpts the silhouette and brings, like other types of yoga, many benefits to the body and the mind.
Yoga, in its broad sense, means ” communion, the union of body, mind and soul “. Philosophy originally transmitted orally, yoga in its physical dimension hatched with Hatha Yoga . This classic and traditional style then gave birth to several dynamic styles including Ashtanga yoga. Vinyasa yoga was created from the latter.
Yoga Vinyasa: what is it?
Like other types of yoga, Vinyasa aims at the balance and general well-being of the body , and more symbolically, at ” the liberation of suffering through physical transformation “. To understand its specificity, it is necessary to start again from the basis of the physical practices of yoga, Hatha . In this one, the postures (asanas) are held in order to breathe for a long time and to work the alignment of the parts of the body.
In Vinyasa yoga, on the other hand, the poses are linked in a precise rhythm where the breath is fixed on each posture. In Sanskrit, the term “Vinyasa” translates besides by ” synchronization of the movement on the breath “. ” Vinyasa is a fast and sporty practice ,” says Victoria Lauro, Vinyasa yoga teacher and founder of the Chez June yoga studio in Nantes. The sequence of postures is much ” more fluid and creative than in Hatha. The asanas are related to each other, the previous one takes the next “, explains the specialist.
What is the difference with Ashtanga?
The practice of Vinyasa is freer than Ashtanga, where one repeats fixed series of postures while holding 5 breaths on each of the poses. Vinyasa appears to some extent as a ” democratized ” version of Ashtanga, which ” meets the more athletic expectations of the West, ” said the yoga teacher.
The emphasis is on ” fluidity “, ” flow ” (hence the name given to many Vinyasa courses), this ” continuity of movement ” which allows access to a form of letting go. With these movements, ” you are both focused on the postures and you have to synchronize the inspiration and the expiration with positions that follow each other quickly and unexpectedly. You don’t have time to think about anything else. , observes Victoria Lauro. It helps to disconnect “.
How does a typical session take place?
The practitioner follows specific postures articulated differently according to the creativity and style of the teacher. ” No course is like another. Each teacher brings his own touch. For example, everyone is free to place or not a theme session, such as detox, the seasons, the types of positions, a chakra, etc . ” . Freedom is also found in the atmosphere, given during the course, which sometimes takes place in music (traditional or modern).
If the construction is free, we still find certain similarities from one session to another. ” The course of the course looks like a curve in the shape of a wave. First, we connect to ourselves, then we go up a bit in cardio with greetings, we strengthen ourselves with standing postures then we gradually descend to finish with the final posture of relaxation, the Savasana “, summarizes Victoria Lauro. The yoga teacher gives an overview of a session:
- A few minutes of presence in the body, of connection to oneself and to one’s breathing. This little moment of meditation allows you to “cut yourself off from your day and possibly place an intention (for example to develop calm, to dedicate your practice to a loved one)”. Some teachers can place breathing techniques (pranayama);
- Warm-up: we set the head and shoulders in motion, open the body and prepare it for the postures that will be worked on during the course;
- Sun Salutations: This sequence of postures is found in other forms of yoga. The Greetings continue the warm-up, work on mobility and raise the heart rate;
- Sequences of so-called “active” postures are performed on the right and left side by means of transitions (“Vinyasa”). Different types of postures follow one another in varying order: standing postures of the warrior type, postures of balance and muscle strengthening. The “active” postures rub shoulders with the seated relaxation postures, inversions, backward bending of the body (opening of the heart), forward bending of the body, twisting on the ground…;
- The yoga session ends with a resting posture, known as “Savasana” (Corpse pose). In these few minutes of relaxation and coming back to oneself, the practitioner gives up all muscular effort and all control of his breathing. ” We let the body assimilate the benefits of the postures “.
What are the benefits?
Vinyasa is a very complete course that ” sculpts and refines ” the silhouette. Regular practice strengthens and relaxes the muscles. We gain flexibility, but also “we draw the back, arms, shoulders, legs, abdominals “. Vinyasa also develops balance, joint mobility and improves posture on a daily basis. ” We learn to stand more upright “.
The rapid sequence of postures works concentration. The focus on the postures allows you to ” clear your head “. Like other types of yoga, Vinyasa helps reduce stress, improves sleep and transit, and boosts the immune system. We also gain energy!
More broadly, Vinyasa yoga brings a better knowledge of oneself and of one’s body. It invites you to explore your limits, the one that you will be able to work on and push back over the months and years of practice. ” With 2 -3 hours per week we open to a form of letting go and serenity “, notes Victoria Lauro. ” More connected to our sensations, we learn to live more in the present moment, we are more connected to ‘the here and now “.
Victoria Lauro assures us, Vinyasa can be a springboard to other forms of yoga. ” I have seen practitioners who came to Vinyasa to sweat and later turned to meditation and less accessible types of yoga-like Kundalini yoga .”
Vinyasa yoga: for whom?
Vinyasa is accessible to everyone, especially those looking for ” physical, dynamic and creative ” training. Athletes will appreciate the “challenge” aspect of certain courses and the complementarity of this practice which stretches the deep muscles.
Yoga novices and non-athletes may find themselves a little confused by the rhythm at first. Rest assured, vinyasa yoga classes for beginners are often offered in the studios. ” Some beginners may prefer a softer type of yoga-like Hatha yoga to familiarize themselves with the postures, ” advises Victoria Lauro. And to temper: ” In yoga, there is no competition, no performance, no judgment “.
In Vinyasa as in all yoga, it is important to listen to your body. Everyone adapts their practice. ” If we cannot achieve a posture or that we are not comfortable, we do not do it “.
In the event of pregnancy or a particular health problem, the teacher is notified before the session and he or she will suggest suitable postures and options.
Where to practice?
- In all yoga studios and gyms in France offering Vinyasa yoga classes.
- Via yoga class booking apps like Oly Be .
- On online yoga apps and sites like Yay.TV, Modo Yoga, Yoga Connect, Tigre Yoga etc.