Definition - What does Vinyasa mean?

Vinyasa is a type of yoga that links movement and breath to attain balance in the mind and body. From the Sanskrit “to place in a special way,” vinyasa aligns a deliberate sequence of poses with the breath to achieve a continuous flow. Inhalation is usually connected to upward, open movements, while exhalation is often tied to downward movements or twists.

This term can denote any of the following:

  • The link between movement and breath
  • A yoga sequence that exemplifies this movement/breath connection
  • A class that focuses on this type of yoga
  • The act of setting an intention and taking steps to reach it

Yogapedia explains Vinyasa

Vinyasa is often thought of as just one of many yoga types. Some people, however, see it as more essential to one's practice. Without it, they feel the practitioner is merely doing stretches without great health benefits.

Regardless of your perspective, the term vinyasa has come to encompass a range of general and specific definitions. As a category of yoga, vinyasa includes - but is not limited to - power yoga, Baptiste yoga, Ashtanga, Jivamukti, and Prana Flow. Because vinyasa practice puts a strong focus on sun salutations, most vinyasa classes will focus heavily on this sequence. In fact, “Take a vinyasa” or “Go through your vinyasa” has become shorthand for completing a sequence of poses leading from the Sun Salutation, and including plank, chaturanga dandasana, upward-facing dog, and downward-facing dog.

The continuous movement of vinyasa reflects the impermanence of all forms and the necessity of accepting change to achieve balance and completeness.

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