Vinyasa yoga is often called “flow” yoga because the poses are synchronized to the breath in such a way that it looks like a flowing dance as you inhale and exhale through the various postures. It is a branch of Hatha yoga related to Ashtanga. Vinyasa focuses on unity between breath and movement as you transition between poses. It improves cardiovascular health, energy, builds muscle, flexibility and stamina and reduces stress. There are many styles of Vinyasa that include numerous poses done in different sequences. The most commonly done Vinyasa yoga poses are included here.
Vinyasa Yoga Poses
Sun Salutation—You start this series of poses in mountain pose (tadasana), then flow with your breath into the upward salute (urdhva hastasana). From there, you continue into the standing forward bend (uttanasana) and then into a lunge, then a plank. Moving along, you go into the four-limbed staff pose (chaturanga dandasana) and move into the upward facing dog (urdhva mukha svanasana) and into the downward facing dog pose (adho mukha svanasana). This is one half of a full round of the sun salutation.
Triangle/Warrior II—Many yogis like to do this invigorating set after a sun salutation and it is a great way to start your day. This series also starts in mountain pose, and then it moves into the triangle pose. From the triangle (trikonasana), you breathe into the Warrior II pose (virabhadrasana II) and finally end again in the mountain pose.
Great Salutation—The great salutation is an adaptation of the sun salutation and includes 22 poses that also include Warriors I and II, triangle and others. It is a complete head-to-toe workout that demands focused breathing throughout. It can build stamina while relieving stress.
Considerations for Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa yoga is a great workout, but if you are new to yoga, find a yoga class specifically fitted to beginners. It is a good idea to learn each of the individual poses first and then learn how they flow together. Find a yoga instructor who can help you practice safely while building stamina. If you have been doing various forms of yoga and are in reasonably good shape, this is a good way to deepen and enhance your yoga practice. As always, talk with your healthcare provider and yoga instructor if you have any questions or concerns. Yoga should challenge you, but it should not be painful.