Vinyasa yoga is a sequence of coordinated, dynamic poses that flow from one to the next, in harmony with breath. A sequence may consist of standard set of asana, or an improvised combination of complimentary opposite poses, optimised for safety and performance.
Ashtanga, Baptiste Yoga, Bikram, Jivamukti and Power Yoga are popular vinyasa styles. Intensity, difficulty, speed, drive and duration of a session determines if the practice is more yin or yang i.e. more competitive, demanding, challenging and sporty, or more gentle and restorative.
A hatha yoga flow practice as instructed by a Sivananda or Integral teacher often favours softer vinyasa. These typically start with a easy warm up practices, followed by, for example, more challenging triangles, an advanced tree balance, and/or a head and/or shoulder stand near the end. But everything is relative; a four-to-the-floor Sivananda vinyasa performed with vigour by a capable yogi is no less athletic than adept Ashtangis.
I am a huge fan of less aggressive vinyasa flow, with about 20 – 40 % power flow asana typical of Ashtanga sequences. For me it is important to be aware of and absorb the actual benefits of a yoga practice, avoiding full on flow at the cost of subtle awareness. Invigorating full body strength balances and agile enhancing training will still potently develop endurance and robust health, in context of a do-able, calm level of practice, sustainable over a lifetime.
Accurate, individual and knowledgable execution
Alignment, consideration of chronic or new injuries or ailments, and holism are most important aspects of hatha yoga. My Essentials of Effective Yoga – Five Keys to Well-being shows how good posture improves breathing, for mobility and relaxation. It makes a strong case for its integration into hatha vinyasa flow, and into lifestyle. The mix of asana, pranayama, mudra, kriya, yogic diet lifestyle, deep meditation and relaxation, all becomes part of the yoga. This is yoga as “union” of body-mind-spirit.
Own practice or teaching
If you are keen to learn vinyasa you could do it in one or more of the many ways as suggested by this post. I sketched the stickman chart for a teachers training and home practice. A little goes a long way when you improvise and be creative with what you know, and adapt to the situation. Start with the basics – always apply the philosophy, metaphysics and principles of integral/hatha yoga.
My 3 Part Easy Flow vinyasa class is on my Cape Town Music & Yoga Studio Youtube Channel
I produced a chill-out Yoga Music Playlist for a power vinyasa session, ending off with music for cool down and relaxation.
with flowing blessings from my Music & Yoga Studio,
Cape Town, 23 August 2016.