I just returned from a perfect Yoga weekend at Klopeiner See in Austria. I hosted my third annual sunshine yoga weekend there and this years group, weather, location, food and energy was BEYOND my expectations. The lake was basically empty since it was still pre season, but it seemed like high summer season since the temperatures felt more like being in an African desert.
Awww…I totally missed to publish this post on Valentines day last week. Shame on me- I prepared it and forgot nevertheless. Oh well, after all we can have Valentines day any day we want, can’t we? Who says you cannot buy your loved ones flowers on a random rainy Thursday? Who says you cannot eat heart shaped chocolates every other day of the year? Who makes the rules? YES, exactly, YOU DO!
And because YOU are special enough to treat yourself to amazing things anytime you want to, I have a healthified raw chocolate recipe for you today. Just to keep the balance and to make sure you are spoiling yourself with the best.
My kitchen has really turned into a magic place in the last couple of months. In 2013 I did not only start making more smoothies, buy a vitamix, test a dehydrator and went to the Ann Wigmore Institute for a Raw Living Foods Certificate, but also moved into a new apartment with a MUCH bigger kitchen (which was totally needed by then!). Fast forward a few months- I set up my own little chocolate brand called XocolexiA and have been spoiling my community with delicious raw chocolate.
After deciding to blog again it took me yet another 10days (or more) to write this next post. Finding back into the routine is harder than I though it would be, however, it’s a great challenge for me this year. I am trying to stick with my decisions, not changing my mind a million times after having decided on something. Sound similar to anyone?
So today I want to talk about Vinyasa Flow Yoga. Ever since I have been teaching students come to me and ask me about characteristics of all the different yoga styles and what all those different descriptions mean. After all Yoga is Yoga, right? In the past few years lots and lots of Yoga styles have been born and they all differ each other in a few points. One style might not focus as much on breath as the other while the focus might be more on the actual alignment (i.e. Iyengar Yoga) of postures (asanas). There are styles that are primarily taught standing (Vinyasa Flow, Dynamic Yoga) while others mostly take place on the floor (Yin, Restorative). In some styles there might be a lot of chanting and invocation (Jivamukti) while in others that would be a total no-go (bikram yoga, hot yoga). And so it is up to us to find OUR own style that suits us most. I know, this is more difficult than it sounds, it definitely takes some time to try out all different varieties there are out there. But that is also the beauty of it: The more you try the more you fill find out what is NOT for you, what does not give you balance and energy. And the more you narrow it down, the more you fill find to the styles of yoga that YOU like, where you can truly let go and also integrate yoga OFF the mat.
For me, Vinyasa Flow is a vital part of my yoga practice. I love to move with my breath and come up with fun and challenging sequences. My friend Sofia from @Urbanyogavienna and I have been practicing some flows together recently and to give you an idea what a sequence might look like, check out this video (sidenote: it is NOT a real time video! people keep asking me and i promise you I do not do yoga in that type of speed;)
So what are the key characteristics of Vinyasa Flow Yoga?
Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement,” and Vinyasa yoga is a series of poses that will move you through the power of inhaling and exhaling. Vinyasa movements are smoothly flowing and almost dance-like, which explains why it is sometimes referred to as Vinyasa Flow or just Flow. Part of every Vinyasa Yoga class are Sun Salutations. Those can be varied and adapted to the strength and stamina of the group.
Vinyasa Flow began as Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga by a Yogi named Sri Tirumala Krishnamacharya. He was given a place to teach yoga and eventually taught a young boy named Parrabhi Jois his learnings on the power of breathing. Jois then established an institute for practicing the specific form of Vinyasa yoga.
Like all styles of yoga, Vinyasa has both mental and physical benefits. Physically, sweat expels toxins and re-energizes your body. Mentally, the synchronized breathing relaxes your mind and helps to release any blockage of energy flow throughout your body.
good for beginners?
Absolutely! A Vinyasa class is both a great place to start and to continue challenging yourself. If you don’t love Vinyasa after your first class, try other teachers as one class can vary significantly from the next. If you like to focus on the power of breathing and flowing movement through poses, you will enjoy the Vinyasa style.*
*Summary edited via Lululemon
Do you practice Vinyasa Flow or Ashtanga Vinyasa? What styles of Yoga have you tried before? Which ones do you like and which ones are just not for you?
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