What Does Vinyasa Mean?
I often get asked just what vinyasa means by those who have explored my teaching schedule or taken one of my classes. I use this word as, at this point in my teaching, it is easily my favorite style of yoga. The idea behind “vinyasa” is to develop a practice that matches movement with breath. Your inhale may straighten your posture, take your hands to the sky or create a bend in your knees; whereas, your exhale, may roll your shoulders forward, move your hands to your mat or bring yourself into a backbend.
Vinyasa is also referred to as the link in between poses. The poses aren’t mindlessly placed together; there is significance behind each breath, each movement and how one pose leads to the next. When I am preparing each class I consider the following:
– I build a progression that works from the most straightforward poses towards the more intricate ones.
– I incorporate counter poses to keep balance between the asanas.
– I offer modifications so everyone can achieve similar benefits from the practice.
I believe modifications are necessary given that another central principle behind vinyasa is to start where you are. This means vinyasa classes should truly be open to all levels and abilities. An environment must be fostered where you can be realistic in your practice, by listening to your body and learning how to modify a pose should you feel any pain. Yoga is never about pain; instead, use the rule of “tolerable discomfort”. This simply means moving outside of your comfort zone but not so far outside that it can lead to injury.
In Sanskrit “vinyasa” comes from “vi” meaning “in a special way” and “nyasa” meaning “to place”. Therefore, the design behind my practice is to be fun, inspiring and leave all participants with an overall feeling of confidence. I feel I can best embody these qualities by designing a vinyasa practice the places the participants with their breath and movement in a special way.
~The divine in me salutes the divine in you, Namaste~