Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa Yoga

Creative form of yoga with synchronised breathing and flowing movements

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How can Vinyasa yoga nourish you?

With a focus on motion, variety and coordinated breathing[1], Vinyasa yoga is often regarded as a dynamic and imaginative style. The Sanskrit word ‘Vinyasa’ is usually translated ‘to place in a special way’[2], and the term is also used to define the fluid movement from one pose (asana) to the next[3]. Vinyasa yoga is known for the way your breathing is synchronised with its energetic motions, and many practitioners consider it to be a strenuous but rewarding discipline.

Today’s interpretation of Vinyasa yoga is attributed to Tirumalai Krishnamacharya[4], an Indian scholar and yoga teacher widely known as the ‘father of modern yoga’. Krishnamacharya revived Hatha and Ashtanga disciplines in India during the 1930s[5], and his students included K Pattabhi Jois and BKS Iyengar[6], who ultimately founded their own styles of yoga.

Benefits of Vinyasa yoga

Research has shown that a fast-paced session of Vinyasa yoga can meet the criteria for “moderate-intensity physical activity”[7] on the basis of energy expenditure. There is evidence to suggest Vinyasa may beneficially increase heart rate variability[8], and even a single session of Vinyasa may offer significant improvements in measures of arterial stiffness[9].

Vinyasa yoga has been reported to potentially improve functional fitness[10], and the results of one study suggest it may offer an acute reduction in stress levels[11]. It has also been reported that just 15 minutes of Vinyasa yoga may have significant psychological benefits[12] including reduced anxiety.

Vinyasa yoga may assist in relieving symptoms related to:

Anxiety Back pain Balance, stability and coordination Brain fog and clarity Circulation and cardiovascular conditions Concentration, focus and problem solving Depression Energy and vitality Flexibility, endurance and strength Heart conditions and heart attack Immunity issues Insomnia and sleep disorders Mobility and movement Muscle spasm, tightness and cramps Neck pain Nervous system and neurological conditions Posture and spine issues Relaxation Respiratory and breathing issues Sadness Stress and tension Weight control and obesity Show all

What to expect from a Vinyasa yoga session

Variety and creativity are hallmarks[13] of Vinyasa yoga exercises, and the style is often referred to as ‘flow’ yoga[14] because of the fluid movements between poses. Unlike with practices such as Bikram yoga, which follow a precise routine, Vinyasa yoga teachers are known for adapting each class, and practitioners agree that no two classes are the same[15].

That said, classes tend to follow a typical overall structure: a session of Vinyasa flow yoga for beginners will usually start with a warm-up, followed by various sequences of asanas. Although your teacher will usually choose poses that are not difficult to perform[16], the continuous movement of Vinyasa yoga can feel strenuous and athletic[17]. For this reason, it’s a good idea to wear clothing that will not make you feel weighed down or restrict your movement once you work up a sweat.

Many studios offering Vinyasa yoga use numbered levels to define the difficulty[18] of the different classes available. Once you have progressed to level 2 or beyond, you might decide to start practising Vinyasa yoga at home.

As with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing Vinyasa yoga. If you have an injury or other health issue, or any concerns at all, also speak to your teacher; the highly flexible nature of Vinyasa yoga lends itself well to optimising a session to suit your individual requirements. 


  1. What is Vinyasa Yoga? | Yoga Theory Adelaide
  2. What is Vinyasa? | Definition from Yogapedia
  3. Introduction to Vinyasa Flow Yoga | Verywellfit
  4. Who is Krishnamacharya? | Definition from Yogapedia
  5. Krishnamacharya | Legacy: Modern Yoga | Inventor | History of Yoga | Yogajournal
  6. Interesting Facts about Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, Modern Yoga founder | Sri Krishna Wellness Yoga & Cultural Centre
  7. Measurement of Energy Expenditure During Fast-Paced Vinyasa Flow Yoga | Arizona State University
  8. (PDF) Effects of Breathing Practice in Vinyasa Yoga on Heart Rate Variability in University Students | A Pilot Study | ResearchGate
  9. The Acute Effects of Vinyasa Flow Yoga on Arterial Stiffness |
  10. The Effect of Vinyasa Yoga on Functional Fitness | ProQuest
  11. Acute and Cumulative Effects of Vinyasa Yoga on Affect and Stress among College Students Participating in an Eight-week Yoga Program: A Pilot Study | International Journal of Yoga Therapy
  12. "Mood, Anxiety, Rpe, and %Mhr after a Single 15, 30 and 60 Minute Sessi" by Marissa Gabriella McGuirk | Georgia Southern University
  13. 7 Reasons to Practice Vinyasa Yoga | DoYou
  14. Introduction to Vinyasa Flow Yoga | Verywellfit
  15. A Beginner | Guide to 8 Major Styles of Yoga | Gaiam
  16. Hatha vs. Vinyasa Yoga: Benefits and How They Differ | Healthline
  17. What is Vinyasa Yoga? | Vinyasa Flow Yoga Explained | One Flow Yoga
  18. Vinyasa Yoga | Yogaworks

Frequently asked questions

Vinyasa Yoga is characterized by its emphasis on motion, variety, and coordinated breathing. The term "Vinyasa" translates to 'to place in a special way' in Sanskrit, indicating the fluid movement between yoga poses (asanas). Unlike some other yoga styles, Vinyasa is known for its dynamic and imaginative sequences, where breath is synchronized with each movement.

Vinyasa Yoga places a strong emphasis on the synchronicity of breath and movement. Each inhale and exhale is coordinated with specific poses, creating a seamless flow. This not only enhances concentration and mindfulness but also helps to harness and direct energy throughout the practice. The breath becomes a guide for the dynamic and energetic motions in Vinyasa.

Vinyasa Yoga is accessible to practitioners of all levels, including beginners. While it can be physically challenging, modifications and variations are often offered to accommodate different skill levels. Beginners are encouraged to start at their own pace, gradually building strength and flexibility as they become familiar with the sequences and synchronization of breath.

The modern interpretation of Vinyasa Yoga is attributed to Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, an influential Indian scholar and yoga teacher often referred to as the 'father of modern yoga.' Krishnamacharya played a key role in reviving Hatha and Ashtanga yoga in India during the 1930s, influencing later yoga pioneers such as K Pattabhi Jois and BKS Iyengar.

The dynamic nature of Vinyasa Yoga, with its continuous movement and breath synchronization, can challenge the body's strength, flexibility, and endurance. This physical intensity, combined with the mental focus required, makes it strenuous. However, many practitioners find the challenges rewarding as they experience increased mindfulness, improved physical fitness, and a sense of accomplishment.

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya's influence extended to several prominent yoga pioneers, including K Pattabhi Jois and BKS Iyengar. While these practitioners developed their distinct styles (Ashtanga and Iyengar, respectively), the foundation of breath-movement coordination and dynamic sequences in Vinyasa Yoga can be traced back to Krishnamacharya's teachings. The interconnectedness of these styles reflects the diverse but shared roots in his teachings.
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