With unfamiliar names like “Ashtanga,” “Bikram,” and “Vinyasa,” it can be hard for beginners to keep all the schools of yoga straight. But if you can remember that Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement,” you’ll know everything you need to about this fantastic style.
Whether you’re just starting out with yoga, or you’re looking to try something new, there are tons of great reasons to try Vinyasa—which is quickly becoming one of the most popular styles among yogis of all experience levels.
1. You stay focused by going with the flow.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Vinyasa Flow” when referring to this type of yoga. Vinyasa Flow refers to the way this style keeps you moving from asana to asana, linking each pose to an inhale and an exhale.
Instructors keep the flow of movements smooth and continuous, which can help you stay present during the session. If you find your mind wandering off in the down-time between poses or sequences, Vinyasa yoga is for you.
2. It’s all about variety.
Vinyasa has a lot in common with Ashtanga yoga, which also links continuous sequence through the breath. But while Ashtanga uses a proscribed sequence of poses that’s taught the same way in every class, Vinyasa is a lot more flexible.
Instructors are totally free to mix up the order of the poses, or throw in something new and unexpected. This “no rules” approach to yoga means you’ll never fall into the slump that can set in when you repeat the same routine over and over.
3. You can find your perfect yoga class.
Since there are no set-in-stone rules about how to conduct a Vinyasa class, teachers can incorporate whatever they choose into the class—including different styles of yoga, a thematic music playlist, or a relaxing nature soundtrack.
Best of all, if one class doesn’t click with you, the next one might be just your cup of tea. With Vinyasa yoga, you can shop around to find the perfect class for you.
4. It pushes you to your limits.
Though “Vinyasa Flow” might sound easy and relaxing, this style can seriously push your physical limits.
This style incorporates elements from all schools of yoga, so even if you’ve mastered those Iyengar standing poses, you’ll find yourself in all new territory when the instructors throws in a Anusara inversion. You’ll push the limits of your strength, flexibility, and balance with Vinyasa yoga.
5. It gives you great cardio.
Cardio is an important part of any fitness routine. The continuous sequence of Vinyasa yoga is great for getting your heart going, even when the pace is relatively slow. The only ‘break’ you’ll get is in resting poses like Downward Dog, which will lead right into another, more challenging pose.
This style of yoga is great for working up a sweat.
6. It’s perfect for beginners.
Since Vinyasa is so diverse, it’s easy to find classes tailored specifically to beginners that will still provide a healthy challenge. This style is also a great way to learn the basics of pranayama, or yogic breathing, since the instructor will tell you when to inhale and exhale during each pose.
This style is a great way to learn the skills you need to build a strong foundation for a more advanced yoga practice.
7. Vinyasa is fun!
With the flowing movements and great music usually playing in class, this style feels like a dance! Just about everyone looks super graceful practicing Vinyasa yoga, and there’s no better feeling than seeing yourself flow into the perfect warrior pose in the mirror.