It’s the first Monday of the month and that means it’s time to Ask a Yogini. Each month, I’ll answer a question about yoga – anything that you’re curious about. Chances are, if you have the question, someone else does too!
Disclaimer: While I am a certified yoga instructor, I am not your yoga instructor. Please exercise caution and honor your own body. These views are mine alone, based on my own experiences. Always consult a certified yoga instructor for additional guidance and assistance.
Have you ever been in a yoga class and heard your teacher say, “Take a vinyasa or go straight to downward-facing dog”? Have you ever wondered what in the world that means? Isn’t vinyasa a type of yoga class? Aren’t you “taking a vinyasa” just by being in class?
What in the word does Vinyasa mean??
So here’s the thing – vinyasa has several meanings.
Translated from Sanskrit, vinyasa means “to place in a special way.” Each movement is a gradual progression from one to the next. The movement is aligned and linked with the breath so that you move with each inhale and exhale.
Vinyasa-style yoga classes are ones where there is a dynamic flow from posture to posture. These classes are also often referred to as Flow Yoga or Power Yoga and are derived from Ashtanga yoga.
Vinyasa can refer to the specific sequence of postures — chaturanga dandasana, upward-facing dog / urdhva mukha svanasana, and downward-facing dog / adho mukha svanasana. This is what teachers refer to as “Take a vinyasa.”
This sequence is a core part of sun salutations (Surya Namaskar). Teachers also often offer it as an option to transition practitioners between postures, oftentimes to “rinse out” a difficult or challenging sequence from your body or system, at least that’s how I think of it.
Do you practice vinyasa or flow-style yoga? Do you have a question you’d like answered? Please let me know!
You may also like to read:
- Should I Use Yoga Props?
- Why Practice Yoga Inversions?
- How to Incorporate Yoga into Your Daily Life
- What is Pranayama?
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