WHY YOGA? WHY VINYASA ?
The answer is, all Yoga practices are great…but what a more dynamic practice, like Vinyasa Flow offers is the chance to bring your body into a state of physical strength, flexibility and vitality at the same time as bringing your mind into a state of balance and stillness.
Science recognises the various benefits of yoga on the mind, body, and spirit (some people start to practice just to stay fit and others are looking for a more spiritual connection – you choose your reasons and whatever they are, that’s great with me!). So which yoga practice is best for you? Lets take a look at Vinyasa or Flow Yoga.
When I first began my practice, by far the hardest part was simply sitting still – allowing my very busy mind to stay in the present moment. But the continuous movement and flow of Vinyasa Yoga (Yup you need to be present to hold those poses!) gave my mind something to tether itself to. It gave me a focus and awareness that allowed me to connect mind and body. Over time the space and clarity I found on the mat began to follow me off the mat and my life and how I looked at it began to change for the better.
When we think of yoga, we think of peace and flexibility and all yoga practices can help us find a bit of both. But in reality, yoga encompasses a lot more than a little stretching and a few breathing exercises. There are many forms of yoga, and each has its own set of benefits. Vinyasa Yoga is a powerful form of yoga that can get your heart pumping and your muscles working. The key to practice is the flow of asanas (poses), coupled with the flow of breath as you move from pose to pose. At a fast pace Vinyasa yoga becomes Power Yoga.
If you are new to a Vinyasa Yoga practice, there are a few things you’ll notice. Firstly, whilst of course there are easier and more advanced options, Vinyasa is more physically challenging than a traditional Hatha practice. There’s a continuous flow and how you move from pose to pose is as important as the pose itself and will affect how you feel at the end of your practice.
Its a great form of yoga for those is us who find it difficult to ‘switch off’ from the external clutter that often keeps our minds busy or for those who find ourselves anxiously focusing on past events or future worries. The continuous movement and challenge draw our minds to the present moment and let everything else fall away – even if initially that’s just for the duration of our practice.
What advantages does Vinyasa Yoga offer?
Helping you build lean muscle mass throughout the body via standing poses, inversions (you don’t need to do a headstand to find an inversion!); arm balances ( lets build up to them if you feel like it) and back bends, Vinyasa gives equal attention to all muscle groups and creates balanced strength throughout.
Developing core and upper body strength not only enhances posture and improves our active daily living but can reduce back pain and increase mobility. Vinyasa stretches and strengthens the body in all ranges of motion to counteract the postural adaptations of our daily lives and to bring the body into healthier alignment. Good posture ensures good circulation, good nervous system function, reduced injuries and strains, and a clearer mind.
This form of practice helps build and maintain strong bones, muscles and connective tissue to maintain a high metabolism, healthy posture, and an active and alive body.
While Vinyasa Yoga is more challenging than traditional Hatha Yoga, students of many levels can find adjustments in poses which mean that vinyasa can be accessible to them – travel at your own pace, listen to your body (not your ego) and build strength and stamina as you continue to practice
Over time, we often find ourselves adopting habits of behaviour or posture which lead to stiff or painful joints and weak (unhelpful) muscles. Our movement may become more limited and as our bodies respond less well our quality of life suffers. Vinyasa continuously helps stretch and strengthen muscles simultaneously and increases range of motion and mobility. Because your breath is in sync with your movement, fresh oxygen fuels and loosens all the muscles. When the muscles are flexed the stress is released from the joints, tendons and ligaments preventing injuries, tears and muscle pulls.
Working on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels (again -you choose where you want your line to be drawn), Vinyasa helps to improve mind/body connection; calms the nervous system; helps build self esteem and allows us to look at ourselves and our lives from different perspectives often finding a more positive and healthier way to approach both ourselves and the world in which we live.
Inculcates proper breathing
When you practice vinyasa your really do focus on your breathing during your practice This means not only do you practice with full awareness but that your breathing fills your lungs with oxygen and helps remove toxins. This yogic breathing helps calm the mind and can reduce the risk of stress related diseases as well as reducing blood pressure and aiding a good nights sleep.
Gives you cardiovascular benefits
Vinyasa practice is more fast paced than many other yoga practices and many postures require you to support your body against gravity which takes a lot of energy. This also works on many muscle groups and the building of muscle requires the use of calories. The link between breath and movement increases your heart rate and generates heat in the body.
The heat created in your body helps improve blood circulation throughout the body while the focus on breathing helps to induce a total body detox. With regular practice you’ll find yourself less tired and feel more energised during the day.
If you are a runner; cyclist; golfer; climber or weekend athlete – vinyasa yoga will help improve your performance and reduce the likelihood of injury.
If you are looking for a way to keep fit and healthy and to find some head space in an ever changing world – then vinyasa might be well worth a visit..
The truth is – all Yoga is great for you…. Its simply about finding the one that works for you.images
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