Now we know that Hatha yoga focuses on uniting opposite energies by creating dynamic tension in the body. So what is Vinyasa yoga, then?
Vinyasa is a smaller branch of yoga that focuses on a specific style, generally referred to as “flow”. More specifically, it means “to place in a special or particular way”. So my job when I teach a Vinyasa style class is to connect the poses in a way that makes sense. It wouldn’t flow very well if I told you to go from a standing pose to lying down on your stomach. Instead, I’d provide you some transitions to get down on the floor (enter those lovely swan dives we all know so well!).
In a Vinyasa class, there are usually a lot of different poses that are strung together. This may be overwhelming to people who are used to other types of yoga, where maybe they focus on just a handful of poses and holding them for many breaths. Vinyasa focuses more on moving, and when we do hold poses, it’s for about 10 breaths.
A typical Vinyasa class will start with a warm-up, followed by sun salutations, followed by the work series. This usually includes your warrior I and II, triangle, side angle, etc. Maybe there will be some balance work mixed in, and then you’ll cool and stretch your muscles before final relaxation.
So, in summary, Vinyasa is a segment of Hatha yoga that takes a particular “flow” approach. Personally, Vinyasa is my favorite approach to yoga. What’s yours?