No wonder you're confused about which type of yoga to take — there are so many to choose from. Repetitive Ashtanga, insanely hot Bikram, and alignment-focused Iyengar are a few popular ones you've probably heard of, but Vinyasa is quickly becoming a popular choice. Here are some reasons why.
The Element of Surprise
Ashtanga and Bikram have one thing in common — the sequence of poses are the same no matter who teaches it or what city you're in. Knowing what is coming may bring a deeper awareness to your practice, but it can also bring up negative feelings: you may hate certain poses, or the same sequence in every class may be boring after awhile — it can also cause repetitive stress injuries. Vinyasa is different because it mixes things up, which keeps you and your muscles on their toes. Incorporating different standing, seated, and inverted poses will strengthen your entire body, and prevent the plateau effect you might experience from classes that are repetitive.
Newbies and Advanced Yogis Welcome
Studios often offer Vinyasa classes based on levels such as 1, 2, 3, or combo levels such as 1/2 so you know exactly what ability the class is geared toward. This means whether this is your first time on the mat or you've been practicing for 15 years, you can easily find a class to suit your needs and keep you challenged.
Is That Sarah McLachlan I Hear?
There is something beautiful about listening to the sound of 30 people breathing simultaneously, but when you're not in the mood for Tony the Om-ing Exhaler's deep moaning breaths, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that many Vinyasa instructors play music during class. Some melodies are subtle and serene, while some teachers really like to pump up the loud, tabla beats. You might also find some teachers share their favorite artists, so don't worry if you're not into Indian Pop music — your teacher might end class with some calming Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones, or Jason Mraz.
Continue reading for two more reasons to try Vinyasa yoga.
They Don't Call It Vinyasa For Nothing
Vinyasa classes are all about fluidity, involving creative flowing sequences geared to open and strengthen the entire body. The poses are connected by a vinyasa, which is like a mini Sun Salutation, that not only keeps you moving and makes your yoga class more like a dance, but vinyasas also strengthen and increase flexibility. Here's a video showing you what a vinyasa looks like. This means you're always moving, so it's perfect for those who have a hard time sitting still.
Cirque Du Soleil, Here You Come
Don't quit your day job just yet, but what's so inspirational about Vinyasa classes is that no pose is off limits. This type of yoga pulls from all the ancient yoga forms, so you'll try balancing poses from Kripalu, standing poses from Iyengar, and inversions you'd try in an Anusara class. As you progress to level 2 and 3 classes, expect to learn more advanced versions of arm balances, headstands, forearm stands, and even poses positioning your legs behind you head. You'll be amazed at how a regular Vinyasa practice increases your flexibility and strength, inspires you to lift into handstands on the beach, and balance in Crow on boulders while hiking.
Just so you know, Vinyasa classes also go by other names like Forrest Yoga, Baptiste Yoga, Jivamukti, Viniyoga, Power Yoga, or Flow Yoga. Are you already a fan of Vinyasa?