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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yoga Vinyasas – Which Ones Are Right For You?

When you think about yoga, you likely think first of poses that emphasize self awareness and flexibility. You can, though, link poses in series called yoga vinyasas. In these vinyasas, the poses are done in a free-flowing sequence that adds to your overall yoga experience. While your yoga teacher is trained to create vinyasas for you, there are also certain existing sequences that you can do on your own once you know what poses they involve. Two that are particularly popular in the West are the Sun Salutation and Warrior II.

Sun Salutation


One of the most popular sequences is known as the Sun Salutation. It is a single flow of 12 different yoga postures. With each, you should inhale to accompany your stretching and exhale as you contract or fold your body in. This particular vinyasas is designed to build your strength and increase your overall flexibility. Like with most vinyasas, you may find variations on this depending on what style of yoga you are using, but there are a few basic poses and a flow that is fairly consistent among the variations.

For the Sun Salutation, you go through the flow twice in order to complete one round. Do it one time for the right side of the body and the other time for your left. If you are crunched for time, still try to do at least one. Even that one half of a sequence will help you to feel revitalized.

The sun salutation starts with mountain. From there you go with hands up, head to knees, lunge, plank, and stick. Still flowing, you go into upward dog, downward dog, and lunge. Finally, the sequence finishes with head to knees, hands up, and mountain again. As you can see, the Sun Salutation is naturally circular just as many other yoga sequences are.

Warrior II


Another popular sequence for yogis in the West is called Triangle, or the Warrior II. This particular vinyasas emphasizes your breathing. Though it is usually recommended to try this moving between positions on the beat of your breath, you can experiment with different breathing patters to see what is best for you and how each affects you. In fact, this ability to freely experiment is what has made this such a popular vinyasas.

The sequence for Warrior II works through four poses. You will use Mountain, Triangle, Warrior II and the standing Yoga Mudra. Moving in that order, you will flow through the sequence in time with your breathing. This particular sequence will have a tendency to release stress and help with your flexibility. Be sure, as with all yoga, to pay careful attention to your breathing patterns while staying focused on yourself.

Once you begin to learn a number of yoga poses, you can begin to experiment with vinyasas on your own or with a teacher. They allow you to not only work within the poses, but also to maintain both a physical and mental flow when you perform your daily yoga. Additionally, you can find other yoga sequences that suit your skill level, need, and style of yoga. Overall, the vinyasas are a part of yoga that may help you see and feel results more quickly and more consistently.