It might surprise you to hear that Vinyasa Yoga is one of the most popular classes held at Virgin Active.
We see just as many people practising Vinyasa Yoga as we see doing the Grid, Cycle and even Body Pump. For those who haven't given it a go, or have only dabbled in Yoga, here's a bit more on what it’s all about.
Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word which literally translates to ‘arrange in a specific or special way’, but like most Sanskrit words it has many meanings in today's Yoga vocab.
‘The marrying of breath and movement’
‘A set sequence of poses used to transition between more structured poses’
‘A dynamic/flowing yoga class’
Despite the varying translations for the word Vinyasa, it has been widely accepted as a name to describe a flowing and athletic form of Yoga.
Vinyasa is an old word, but the practice itself is a fairly modern style of Yoga that has its roots in the more classical Ashtanga practice. It's now one of the most widely practiced and recognisable forms of Yoga in the world and has captured the hearts of many 'fitness minded' people. There is a common misconception that Yoga is just about stretching, sitting still and meditating - three things that we, as busy modern people, feel are just too hard to tackle. As a Yoga teacher, I hear it quite often:
‘I'm not flexible enough for Yoga’
‘I get bored easily’
‘I can't sit still, my mind goes crazy’
In the past even I have used the same reasons to avoid going to Yoga. But after discovering Vinyasa Yoga back in 2010, I now understand that they are actually the perfect reasons to start. Vinyasa is dynamic, it's athletic, you feel muscles working that you've never felt work before, it takes you to your edge and you will probably even sweat. Vinyasa got me hooked into a regular practice and as cliché as it is, it has changed my life.
Vinyasa describes the transition between more static poses, so there's not much sitting around in this class. In those moments when you are still, you're often performing a strong pose that is going to elicit some serious muscle activation, tone, and broaden your range of movement.
It is also much more than just a physical practice.
In this day and age, we do get bored easily. We are addicted to distraction and busy-ness and when left to contemplate our thoughts, we go crazy. We are often trying to accomplish many things at once and a Vinyasa practice, although it won't necessarily empty your mind, it will give you time to focus your thoughts and attention on a single point. It is mindfulness through movement. Rather than sitting cross-legged on the floor with your eyes closed, you're moving your body from the tips of your toes to the crown of your head. You often don't even realise your practising mindfulness until you leave the room with a clear head, ready to take on the rest of your day, and enjoy a truly restful sleep.
With greater understanding of the benefits of Yoga, across the globe men are flocking to the Yoga studio and that trend is happening here too. In our classes, especially Vinyasa, as much as 30% of the classes regular participants are men and we're stoked to see that number is growing. We've got everything you need to get started. All you need to bring is a towel, water bottle and wear some light comfy clothing. Our teachers are experts at catering to everyone, from the absolute beginner, to the most seasoned Yogi or Yogini. So no matter who you are, there's no more room for excuses.
See you on the mat.