Flow yoga is also referred to as Vinyasa, which means to “arrange something in a special way “. Flow yoga is movement, breath and flow coordinated from one pose to the next. It uses a specific sequence of poses to move the practitioner from one pose to the next, in such grace that it sometimes resembles a dance.
This popular contemporary style of yoga encompasses many other styles of yoga including power yoga and Ashtanga. Every movement the practitioner makes is synchronized to an inhalation or exhalation, the breath given primacy. The breathing sequence then acts as na anchor to help you flow from one pose to the next. The breathing combined with flowing movements becomes a choreographed sequence. Once in a while the flowing movements maybe combined with longer holds for specific postures.
Is flow yoga for you?
Contemporary flow yoga is a bit athletic, in fact more athletic than most other styles of yoga. Flow yoga is not as gentle or as passive as most beginners would expect a yoga style to be. For this reason, it is perfect for you, if you are looking to improve your body’s flexibility, build strength and improve your overall physical well being. Add all that yoga’s holistic benefits and you have the perfect yoga practice for people who love intense athletic activity.
What should you expect when beginning out in flow yoga practice?
Expect gentle movements at the beginning to warm up your body, than a progressive flow into more challenging sequences. You will find inversions, peak poses and balances that end with deep calm stretches or floor based asanas.
Expect a lot of breath synchronization that ensures that you get to maximize the most positive aspects of flow yoga. Some of these include;
- Keeping your body’s temperature consistent
- Creating a higher mental focus
- Blocking out distractions
- Maintaining the proper pace of the sequences
- Assisting you find proper form of the postures.
- Going through your flow yoga
Flow yoga has a series of three main poses that make up the sun salutation sequence. These three poses begin with a plank, the Chaturanga and ends up with an upward facing dog, or their variations. Use your breath to measure the moment you need to move into your next pose.
Below is a beginner’s version of the flow yoga sequence.
- Plank pose
The secret of a good plank position is to ensure that your elbows are aligned properly under your shoulders. If you find the common plank position a bit hard to assume, you can drop your knees to the floor instead.
- Lowering your knees, chest and chin
Keep your butt high in the air, exhale to lower your knees, chest and chin down to the mat. Your elbows should point straight back on your sides. This pose will help you develop strength in your arms and will warm you up for backbends.
- Cobra pose
Breath in and slide your body forward to a low cobra pose. Ensuring that your arms do not move at all, lower your hips to the floor, as your chest naturally moves forward, and lifts off the ground. Ensure that this lift comes from you back not the push of your arms. Let your hold no weight as you anchor your pelvis and tips of your feet to your mat.
- Downward facing dog
Breathe out and straighten your hands to allow you to push back to the downward facing dog. You will need to curl your toes for this movement to flow just right.
Advantages of flow yoga
- The repeated postures and movements will benefit you flexibility wise
- Flow yoga’s burns a lot of calories, which aids in weight loss. As long as you keep flowing actively for 45 minutes and resting Child’s pos, you will more than in any style of yoga and depending on your weight, more than is possible within this time frame with jogging or jumping jacks.
- When flow yoga has some Chaturangas, they will help you build upper body strength.
- Yoga as a practice improves your cardio vascular health and results in better exercise tolerance
- Flow yoga is great tool for calming the mind. Due to its unique combination of breath, movement and poses, it is a very moving meditation.
- Yoga can mitigate your body’s stress response, through the use of mental and breathe focus. It improves sleep, reduces anxiety and can treat addictions.