Women sit in a yoga pose to illustrate the concept of vinyasa yoga.

You might wonder, “what is vinyasa yoga” for self-care. Vinyasa yoga involves movements coordinated with breath to center and strengthen the participant. The practice is becoming more popular thanks to the many benefits it offers. In this article, you’ll go over this yoga style, how it can benefit you and how you can fit it into your life.

The Basics

You might still wonder, “What’s vinyasa yoga and how does it help people?” As with all things, it’s best to start with the basics.

Also known as “flow,” vinyasa focuses on active movement instead of holding the stationary poses of hatha yoga. It’s a form of dynamic stretching, a low-impact way to strengthen the body and combines movements from several different styles, like power yoga and Ashtanga.

Though vinyasa is a contemporary yoga style, it still relies on the traditions of ancient techniques, combining some of the poses to create a sequence of postures. A famous example of this is the Sun Salutation. Another is the simple but effective cat-cow stretch.

With each movement, your breath is the anchor and its rhythm guides you through a sequence from start to finish. This form of breathing helps you center your mind and feel more connected to the world.

Vinyasa yoga varies in difficulty, with different instructors leading through various levels of complexity. Regardless of the challenge, a real vinyasa class will take you through flows of multiple movements.

The Benefits 

There are many different physical and mental benefits to practicing vinyasa yoga. The practice is scientifically proven to reduce arterial stiffness, which can help prevent heart conditions. It’s also linked to lower blood sugar and cholesterol. The movements strengthen your core and give you greater flexibility, helping reduce back pain and arthritis symptoms. 

Vinyasa yoga also promotes positive mental health by reducing stress and decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression. These benefits are associated with many types of yoga, as the practice revolves around mindfulness and breath regulation. Still, vinyasa incorporates more movement, helping your brain release more feel-good hormones during the exercise. The smooth movements and breathwork can help you feel a greater spiritual connection to the world around you.

A significant benefit of this yoga style is the diversity of movements used. Vinyasa combines different styles’ poses with the ability to vary sequences in any preferred way. This also allows participants to adapt poses for injury or skill level.

Vinyasa can improve your sleep, creating a positive cycle of rest and regular exercise. When you sleep well, you may feel more motivated to exercise and that exercise can help you get another good night’s sleep.

How to Get Started 

There are several ways to practice vinyasa yoga in the studio or at home. When a yoga studio holds a “flow” class, it’s likely vinyasa. Many communities have in-person studios dedicated to providing classes. If you can’t find one near you, check with local community and fitness centers, as many programs offer a yoga class.

If you’d prefer to stay in the comfort of your own home, you can join a virtual yoga class. Several instructors provide vinyasa yoga experiences via livestreams you can participate in on Facebook, YouTube and other platforms. 

Another option is to learn at your own pace working alongside online tutorials. This is a great option if you’re unable to attend an in-person class and are new to yoga since you can pause the video and study each pose. Several creators on YouTube offer free yoga videos you can watch and follow along with at your leisure. Yoga with Adriene, Travis Eliot and Breathe and Flow are just some out there offering vinyasa classes. With all of these options available, almost anyone can try vinyasa yoga.

Practicing Vinyasa Yoga 

Many people can benefit from trying vinyasa yoga, whether you’re new to the type of exercise or an experienced yogi. It incorporates movements from many different styles in sequences, allowing you to get creative with your workout.

The style also helps you center yourself for handling the rest of life’s events by regulating your breaths and practicing mindfulness. Next time you exercise, give vinyasa yoga a try to feel better in mind, body and spirit.

Meta: Vinyasa yoga involves movements coordinated with breath to center and strengthen. Learn more about vinyasa yoga and how you can incorporate it into your life. 

Mia Barnes

About the Author

Mia Barnes is a health and wellness freelance writer and practicing yogi with a passion for holistic wellness. Mia has been covering yoga-related topics for over three years and is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind Magazine, an online healthy living publication.