The most practiced style of Yoga in the Western Hemisphere is undoubtedly the Hatha Vinyasa style of yoga or better known as Vinyasa Flow, but what is it?
The practice of Hatha Vinyasa Yoga is based on the teachings of Krishnamacharya. It is a practice that integrates movement and breathing conscious and completely related to each movement. It develops as a fluid series of postures that require a seamless integration between consciousness and presence. It is a dynamic style that requires the total concentration of the practitioner. Hatha Vinyasa Yoga incorporates sequences that develop progressively with harmony and intelligence, including small meditations, sun salutations, planks, rotations and also inclinations of different parts of the body. It is an evolutionary path that makes creativity flourish, perceiving what is happening at that moment within each one and it is expressed through practice.
The heart of Hatha Vinyasa Yoga is in the sequence of postures formed by:
Chaturanga Dandasana – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Adho Mukha Svanasana. Better known as chaturanga, upward facing dog, and downward facing dog.
Sequences of postures, accompanied by conscious breathing, are held between one vinyasa and the other. It is true that we identify these postures in the famous “Greetings to the Sun” that we can recognize as part of many styles of yoga, but in Vinyasa, the sequences of postures are linked in a fluid way, the purpose is to always keep the energy moving without breaking with harmony or “krama”. You can always do “a Vinyasa” between one sequence and another to maintain the flow or continue the harmony of the movement without marked cuts in our body or breath.
In the Vinyasa sequences you can find exercises of flexion, extension, balances, inclinations, inverts and twists accompanied by pranayama or conscious breathing.
What is the difference between Vinyasa and Ashtanga?
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, which is composed of a fixed series of increasingly complex postures, should not be confused with Hatha Vinyasa Yoga where the sequence is always open in respect of Vinyasa Krama.
The Hatha Vinyasa Yoga classes are freer, each teacher creates a sequence, what changes is the rhythm of the practice that can be more or less dynamic, the awareness of whether all the benefits of said action are received is fundamental. It is not about performing any sequence of postures but something coherent.
Vinyasa Krama: methodology of movement and sequence
Krama the pass
Vi saw in a special and varied way
According to the teachings of Krishnamacharya, the concept of vinyasa krama tells us that it is not enough to take a step, but that step has to be taken in the
direction and correct form, that is, following some indicative parameters. Traditionally yoga was taught from teacher to disciple and the teacher could
identify the needs of each one and guide them through a personalized practice that would help the student to achieve their goals and needs both physically and spiritually.
Why is Vinyasa Flow the most practiced style of yoga in the West?
The style of Vinyasa Yoga tends to generate well-being for different areas of the body, each sequence is different and can be focused on improving a specific part. Being a dynamic yoga style, it can become similar to the cardiovascular exercises that we are used to doing to improve our circulation and eliminate endorphins. An important reason to practice Vinyasa is because of the creative or fun part, in the West we do not have so much roots for strong disciplines and the type of Ashtanga yoga requires a lot of dedication and always doing the same routine, which can cause fatigue in people who do not are adapted to this.
In general, yoga practices in the West are taken to clear people and relax, while in ashtanga yoga it can sometimes be a challenge to relax taking into account that you must be very aware of the sequence and always repeat.