What Is Vinyasa Yoga?

Yoga has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. However, it can be a bit of an intimidating practice to get into as a beginner.

One of the reasons for this is the sheer number of different types of yoga. When looking for a yoga class to attend, it’s hard to know why you should pick the Ashtanga over the Hatha, or the Vinyasa over the Flow.

To try and clear things up, we’ve broken down the ins and outs of one of the most widely popular forms of yoga, Vinyasa Yoga. Vinyasa Yoga is a wonderfully full type of yoga that is ideal for a lot of people.

It has a unique style and flow that is customizable to your own personal requirements. To understand more about its origins, definition, benefits, and what sets it apart from other yogic practices, check out the information below.

What Is Vinyasa Yoga

History Of Vinyasa Yoga

Before we get into the definition of Vinyasa Yoga, it’s probably a good idea to first understand how it developed.

Vinyasa Yoga doesn’t have an official founder or origin place. Rather, Vinyasa Yoga was born from another practice, called Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

The school of Ashtanga yoga was developed by Patthabi Jois. Jois taught Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga as a type of meditation based on movement.

In this style, breath and movement are coordinated. It is a highly active and dynamic practice, which requires a lot of focus and concentration. It works with a set series of poses, which are linked together through flowing movements that are guided by the breath.

This style of yoga is the basis for multiple forms of modern yoga, such as Power Yoga, Flow Yoga, and Vinyasa Yoga.

What Is Modern Vinyasa Yoga?

Vinyasa Yoga, also known as Vinyasa Flow Yoga, is a style of Ashtanga Vinyasa. However, it is far less rigid in its structure than Ashtanga Vinyasa.

Many Vinyasa yoga classes follow some of the basic sequences within Ashtanga yoga, but also incorporate different sequences and poses.

In Vinyasa Yoga, there are no fixed series of postures, and one class can be very different from the next. This makes Vinyasa Yoga a bit more accessible than Ashtanga Yoga, as you can explore the practices within Ashtanga Yoga in a more personalized way.

Characteristics Of Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa Yoga is quite different from other forms of yoga. Though it is often described as a freestyle version of Ashtanga, it does have some specific characteristics that set it apart from others.

The Connection Of Postures

In Vinyasa Yoga, each pose is connected to the next using breath. This gives the practice its signature ‘flow’, as it appears very fluid. In other forms of yoga, participants tend to observe one particular pose for a period of time before they change into another.

The Transitions Between Poses

All postures are connected to each other in Vinyasa Yoga, through a set of transitions. These transitions focus on mindfulness, as well as breath.


By focusing on linking poses to breathing in a fluid way, Vinyasa Yoga is often described as a form of moving meditation. Whilst focusing on the practice, the mind is cleared of distractions.


Though Vinyasa Yoga doesn’t contain set pieces, classes tend to end with Savasana, also called a corpse pose. This is thought of as a final relaxation, which brings together all the elements of the sequence that has just been performed.

Benefits Of Vinyasa Yoga

Doing any form of yoga is likely to have a number of health benefits. However, Vinyasa Yoga has an especially large number of benefits for the body, mind, and overall well-being. Check them out below!


Due to the complexity of the movements and postures in Vinyasa Yoga, it can be great for improving your flexibility.

If you’re a beginner, don’t worry too much if your flexibility isn’t great. It will get better, and very fast! Just make sure to stretch and warm up properly, so that you don’t hurt yourself.


Vinyasa yoga is a great way to improve strength. In fact, holding poses in Vinyasa Yoga is essentially a complete body workout.

If you begin Vinyasa Yoga as a beginner, you’ll be sore from working muscles you didn’t even know you had! In this form of yoga, you work deep muscles, as well as the more obvious ones. In turn, this also helps stabilize your body and will make you feel more balanced (eventually).

Cardiovascular Health

A 2013 study found that thanks to the fact-paced movements combined with the physically challenging poses, Vinyasa Yoga is an excellent, light-intensity cardiovascular workout.

Not all forms of yoga have this benefit, so if you’re looking to combine your cardio and yoga, Vinyasa Yoga is definitely the way to go.

Due to the combination of movement and flexibility, Vinyasa Yoga is a great way to improve mobility. The practice not only will increase your range of motion but will help make you more aware of both your mental and your physical state.

Stress And Anxiety

A 2012 study found that women who were receiving cognitive behavior therapy benefited from practicing Vinyasa Yoga. In particular, their stress and anxiety levels were lowered.


Engaging in Vinyasa Yoga can significantly help increase your quality of sleep. It does this in two ways:

  1. By releasing tension in your body and working your body physically.
  2. By clearing the fog in your mind.

Emotional stability

Vinyasa Yoga can also have the surprising benefit of fostering emotional stability. The practice gives you a toolbox of coping mechanisms to fall back on when you begin to struggle. For instance, it promotes balance and breathwork.

Final Thoughts

It is easy to think that all forms of modern yoga are essentially the same. However, that definitely isn’t the case, and Vinyasa Yoga sets itself apart from many other practices.

It’s not only a full and great form of exercise but it can do wonders to clear your mind and benefit your overall lifestyle.

Laura Simmons
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