Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vinyasa Flow

Welcome back! Apologies for the long delay between posts. Apologies also for the quality of the embedded video.

Today I wanted to give a brief intro to vinyasa, or flow yoga. In a typical vinyasa class, hatha yoga poses are linked together with a set series of poses. This is usually plank-chaturanga dandasana (four-limbed staff pose)-upward facing dog-downward facing dog. The whole sequence is often verbally abbreviated "chaturanga." Chaturanga, however, is an advanced pose that requires a good deal of upper-body strength. If you wish to incorporate vinyasa flow into your practice but don't have the arm strength required to perform chaturanga, I have included two alternative vinyasa sequences that can be done in place of chaturanga in any vinyasa class. One uses cobra pose, which is the perfect pose to strengthen the muscles of the upper back and arms to build up to chaturanga. The next variation uses knees-chest-chin pose, or ashtanga namaskara. My form is not perfect in the video, so please check out about.com's excellent description of the pose here.

Vinyasa flow is based on the Sun Salutation. If you have a home practice and want to make it more physically challenging, I recommend adding some Sun Salutations. Begin with a warmup on the floor, move on to some variations of the Sun Salutation, then perform your other poses. Once you are comfortable with the Sun Salutations you can add more vinyasa to your practice. I like to use the sequences in the video to connect between standing poses (and to flow into poses like pigeon.), usually holding a pose for 6-10 breaths, then spending 1/2 to 1 breath on each pose in the flow sequence. Enjoy the video, and stay tuned for more updates and yoga insights.

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