Choose Your Vinyasa
Updated: Sep 27
Keep hearing the term 'Vinyasa' and have no idea what these yogis are talking about?
We're here to help make sense of this commonly used word, along with showing you how to customise your vinyasa when attending yoga classes in the future.
What Is 'Vinyasa'?
A typical translation of this term would be - 'syncing breath with movement'
If you want to get a little more technical, then based on the Sanskrit (ancient Indian text) definition we have:
'vi' - in a special or sacred way
'nyasa' - to place
Therefore, 'Vinyasa' would translate into, 'to place something in a special or sacred way'.
I.e. by taking a step forward with your right foot as you exhale and finding a lunge pose on the next inhale would certainly be fitting for a Vinyasa style movement.
... There's More:
The definition of 'Vinyasa' doesn't stop there. In our modern world of yoga poses, flows and sequences, the term Vinyasa has more commonly come to define a particular set of movements that are performed regularly in Hatha, Ashtanga and, you guessed it, Vinyasa yoga classes.
These are the typical 'Vinyasa' movements:
High Plank (Palakasana)
Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana)
Downdog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)
You also modify the poses in this sequence to suit your body on any given day. After all, each day is completely different and this is where Yoga asks you to check-in with yourself, notice what feels good, notice your breath, listen to what your body is asking for in each moment.
Now, the Good Part:
We've created this short video to show you some different variations and modifications to your 'Vinyasa' sequence. Have a go a one, or all of them. Notice how they feel in your body, and use them next time you're in a class to freshen things up.
Why do we Vinyasa?
For starters, completing a Vinyasa within a yoga class is a great way to reset and refresh. You'll often do them in-between sequences, or when you're transitioning from one side to the other.
From a yoga teachers point of view, they really help to structure a class and are very useful reference points which helps us sequence.
Some other useful benefits include:
Improve core strength, posture and stability
Tones wrists, arms and lower back
Builds strength in your erector spinae; the muscles on either side of your spine which helps improve your posture overall
Stretch muscles in shoulders, chest and core
Invigorates the heart circulation
The list honestly goes on... what makes you feel good in vinyasa?
Each pose in the 'Vinyasa' sequence are quite different from one another; high press up position, back bend in cobra through to down dog. These postures by themselves are excellent to work even if you don't practice 'yoga.'
Why do I want to create my own Vinyasa if one already exists?
As you know, every single day is different. Our bodies can sometimes feel completely foreign, and other times we can be in the zone and feel unstoppable.
The same happens with our minds; sometimes events and situations are clear and precise meaning we know what steps to take in every moment. Other days it feels like a big disorganised mess in there.
The main point; whatever you're feeling like today, honour that. Have tools in your toolkit (like our Vinyasa options) to make each day suit yourself better.
Just because something already exists, does not mean you can't take control and modify it to suit your needs.
This is one of the best lessons yoga has taught me and is something you can practice on the mat in a yoga class, and is certainly something you can take off the mat and practice in real life.
Vinyasa options not mentioned in the video:
It's worth noting that whilst we have covered a few Vinyasa variations, there are a lot more where that came from.
For example, you can start using props like a towel under the heels, or blocks under the hands. You might enjoy taking a wider placement of the hands and feet. You might enjoy using the forearms more to give your wrists a rest.
We hope you've found this useful, and there's at least one thing you can take away.
As always, if you have questions, comments or feedback we'd love to hear from you.
Thanks for practicing with us.
Kanuka Yoga Space