As a beginner learning yoga practice for the first time, it can be quite overwhelming. Yoga has so many styles, variations, and aspects to it that it’s hard to choose which one is best for you. But the great thing about yoga is that it can affect all the different parts of our minds and bodies. It ultimately serves the purpose of improving our overall well-being. Joining yoga classes can be fun and life-changing because not only do you get to enhance your health, you also get to connect with your inner self and meet new people along the way.
With so many styles of yoga developed over the years to cater to the varying needs of every individual, one of the most prominent ones is Vinyasa.
In this blog post, we’ll be telling you everything there is to know about Vinyasa and what is the best flow for beginners.
What is Vinyasa yoga?
Vinyasa is a type of yoga practice that involves tying up a sequence of poses together that are executed at a continuous pace. The movements are done in sync with proper breathing techniques. It’s a progressive flow that is often considered to be a good cardiovascular workout that will also get you really sweaty.
Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word that actually means “to arrange something in a special way”. It’s also sometimes referred to as “flow yoga” due to it giving importance to the structure and sequence of yoga poses. It is affiliated with the belief that our external movements are a representation or expression of how we think and feel.
If you want to improve your breathing, steady your balance, and probably lose weight, a Vinyasa yoga class would be an ideal choice.
Characteristics of Vinyasa yoga
Here are the important facts that you should know about Vinyasa:
- The main focus of Vinyasa is connecting one yoga pose to another with the use of breath. Flow is very important to maintain and there isn’t enough time to rest in between movements.
- In Vinyasa, the transitions are also considered as postures. Students will experience the importance of moving smoothly and gracefully to head towards every movement steadily.
- This is a more challenging class compared to Hatha since your endurance and stamina will be tested more. The sequences of this yoga style are more fast-paced which will require more energy from you.
- The breathing technique being used here is called the “Ujjayi breath“. To do this, you must inhale and exhale through the nose in a rhythmic manner.
- The practice of Vinyasa generates heat in the body and may add a cardiovascular component that is not present in other types of yoga classes. In relation to this, it’s also a known aid in weight loss. (to know more about the relation between yoga and weight loss, you may refer to our other blog: How many calories does yoga burn?).
What are the benefits of Vinyasa practice?
It is no surprise that yoga provides a lot of health benefits to our health. The combination of stretching, breathing, and meditation leaves a positive impact on our well-being and can aid us in fitness and wellness.
By practicing Vinyasa alone, here are the following benefits that you can expect:
Strengthening the cardiovascular system
As previously mentioned, the fast pace of Vinyasa exercises our heart. It’s nearly the same as walking. Executing the continuous flow of movements can increase our heart rate and help us burn calories.
Improves endurance, strength, and flexibility
Enhancing your strength and flexibility is a common benefit among the many yoga styles. But in Vinyasa training, this is going to be more evident. The transition from one pose to another at a certain speed will surely increase your strength, make you more flexible, and develop your endurance.
It detoxifies the body
Practicing Vinyasa whilst drinking water properly and maintaining a healthy diet helps promote good digestion and proper circulation. It helps our body detoxify, cleansing it and giving us the feeling of rejuvenation.
Aids in weight loss
A lot of people practice yoga weight loss. Yoga may be more slow-paced in comparison to other more vigorous types of workouts to lose weight, but the continuous movements in Vinyasa are good physical training for those who want to burn some calories and shed some pounds.
Is Vinyasa suitable for beginners?
Vinyasa is often interchanged with power yoga due to both being considered under the more advanced yoga classes. However, they’re not the same. Vinyasa yoga is not so much about power but the focus is directed at increasing our strength and endurance by executing the string of movements accompanied by steady breathing techniques.
Although this yoga style might be more challenging compared to Hatha yoga or the more slow-paced styles of yoga, it’s still a good one for beginners to join. If your goal is to really test your stamina and learn the power of breath usage, then this is an ideal class for you. It would be much better though if you already had prior experience with yoga or you at least know the basics. If you only have very minimal yoga knowledge, just make sure that you don’t push yourself to the limit and ask the yoga instructor or teachers for proper guidance.
What to expect from a Vinyasa class
When it comes to joining a new activity, especially one that will significantly affect your lifestyle, it’s important to set your goals and expectations. By doing so, you know which direction you’re headed into and you can be prepared for what’s to come. No surprises.
If this is your first time to join a Vinyasa session, do expect that it has a lot of variety depending on the kind of flow the instructor desires. There’s a Vinyasa yoga class that starts with gentle warm-ups to wake your body up, while some teachers prefer to head straight for the standing poses. Whichever one it is, always assume that it will include sun salutations.
Just expect the practice to be intense or challenging. It will still depend on how the instructor is but just remember to know how much intensity your body can take. If you can’t define your limits, then you might get hurt or easily burned out.
The Vinyasa flow perfect for beginners
For first-time yogis, we’ve laid out a Vinyasa flow that you can follow. Nowadays, with most of us doing our activities within the safe walls of our homes, it’s good that we can remain physically fit by following workout sequences provided online.
Whether you are practicing to join a Vinyasa yoga class soon or just another average workout-from-home buddy, you can follow this sequence of poses and their consequent transitions:
1. Mountain to Upward Salute
Slowly inhale as you extend your arms up towards the ceiling. Make sure to absorb all the energy around your body. Allow the palms of your hands to meet above the head and then slowly bring them down in front of your chest as you exhale. Repeat this 5 times.
2. Upward Salute to Half-Moon
Open up your body by gently swaying from side to side. Remember to hold each side for a few breaths. Once your body is back at the center, exhale and bring your hands to the center of your chest and then move towards the forward fold.
3. Forward Fold to Standing Half Forward Bend
Inhale as you place your hands either on your thighs, shins, or hips. Lengthen your spine from your tailbone up to the center of your ears. As you exhale, soften your face and release your legs and back as you go back to the forward fold. Next, place your hands on the mat and bend your knees (if necessary). Step your right foot back and lower its knee, leaving your weight on your left foot and right shin.
4. Low Lunge to Flying High Lunge
From low lunge, inhale as you raise your arms and exhale as you sweep them backward while lifting the back leg for a high lunge. Take another deep breath as you lift your arms back up lower the back leg as you go into a low lunge. Repeat the cycle thrice before slowly transcending into the plank pose where you are low on all fours on the mat with your legs straight and closed together.
5. Plank to Chaturanga Dandasana to Upward-Facing Dog to Downward Facing Dog
These four yoga asanas are the highlight of the Vinyasa flow. Take your time inhaling while doing the plank pose, then exhale in Chaturanga. Inhale once more in upward facing dog and then exhale while doing downward facing dog.
6. Three-legged Down Dog to Low Lunge to Flying High Lunge
Inhale and exhale as you go into a low lunge posture. After this, repeat step 3 except at the end where you do a standing forward fold instead of a standing half forward bend.
7. Forward Fold to Standing Half Forward Bend
From here, you will have to slowly bend your knees and extend your arms up in upward salute going to mountain pose.
8. Mountain to Upward Salute
Repeat the same movements in step 1.
9. Forward Fold to Standing Half Forward Bend
Follow the same cycle as the one in step 3 but on the opposite side.
10. Low Lunge to Low Lunge Twist
Do the low lunge by inhaling and raising your arms, then release them to the chest area. Follow this with a twist of your body, engaging your spine and allowing your left arm to meet your right leg. Keep your chest lifted away from the leg. Hold the posture for 2 to 3 breaths before moving your arms back to the center and then releasing them to the ground. Slowly move into the plank position.
11. Plank to Chaturanga Dandasana to Upward-Facing Dog to Downward Facing Dog
Execute the same sequence in step 5.
12. Three-legged Down Dog to Low Lunge to Low Lunge Twist
Do the same movements in step 6 except change the flying high lunge with the low lunge twist. Follow this with a repeat of step 9 as well but do a standing forward fold in the end instead of a standing half forward bend.
13. Forward Fold to Standing Half Forward Bend
Same as step 3, then slowly bend your knees and lift your arms as you go from upward salute to mountain pose.
14. Mountain to Eagle
While doing the eagle pose, make sure that your hips are square. This means that if your right leg is above the left thigh, then your right arm is under the left arm. The same principle applies on the other side. Hold each side for 5 breaths.
15. Upward Salute to Mountain (with Prayer Hands)
As you exhale and place hands on the center chest area, end the pose with a bow of the head. You may end the flow here or continue with your own formulated sequence of poses.
Looking for the best Vinyasa yoga class in Singapore?
When it comes to joining or participating in new yoga classes, you want to experience the best kind there is. If you want to learn Vinyasa flow effectively, you need to learn from a yoga studio that can provide you with the necessary knowledge, training, and support that would help you achieve your end goal. This is not only applicable to vinyasa but to other types of yoga as well like hatha yoga and others.
The most important things to consider in a good yoga studio are these: modern and clean facilities where you can execute the poses well and where you can have access to well-maintained yoga props and equipment, experienced yoga teachers who can guide you efficiently through the process, and give you an experience worth remembering, and if the studio is beginner-friendly, meaning that they know how to welcome and handle first-timers in the world of yoga.
If you are indeed looking for a yoga studio to learn Vinyasa from and has all of the qualities mentioned above, then there’s no better choice than Sweatbox Yoga Singapore!