Vinyasa is one of the most popular types of yoga. It is characterized by stringing movements together in one flow while using your breath.
Vinyasa yoga is an enjoyable and relaxing form of exercise, but it also boasts multiple health benefits. In this article we will explore what vinyasa yoga is, along with its many benefits.
What Is Vinyasa Yoga?
Vinyasa yoga is hatha’s opposite. In hatha yoga you practice one pose at a time with a rest in between. In vinyasa yoga, you string poses together to make a sequence.
As a result vinyasa yoga tends to be more fast-paced, which makes it better for building fitness and balance. In vinyasa yoga, each movement is synchronized with a breath. It offers the ultimate way to get that mind-body connection.
An example of a very simple vinyasa movement that’s commonly included in a yoga routine is a cat-cow. A sun salutation is another example. You’ll likely find at least one sun salutation in any vinyasa class you attend.
During a vinyasa yoga class, you can expect to engage your cardiovascular system and feel the heat build throughout your body. You’ll often sweat more than you would during a hatha yoga session and it can require more energy.
The way you move from pose to pose can vary depending on your teacher. Vinyasa is extremely versatile, so you can expect different instructors to teach you different sequences. One thing you can count on with vinyasa yoga is the flow.
What is Vinyasa Flow Yoga?
Vinyasa flow yoga focuses on making the movements flow together as seamlessly as possible. In this type of yoga, rather than moving rigidly from one pose to another, every movement will be a way to transition to the next, so your body is producing fluid movements.
Watching vinyasa flow yoga can look almost look like dancing, but with more time taken to move between poses and with a strong focus on breathwork.
Vinyasa Yoga Flow Health Benefits
While it’s fun and interesting to learn a new hobby or meet new friends in your class, one of the most common reasons for taking part in vinyasa yoga is the health benefits that come with it. Here are just some of the health advantages you can expect to enjoy when you practice vinyasa yoga regularly.
Vinyasa yoga can be an excellent tool for weight loss. This is especially true when you pair it with healthy eating and other forms of exercise such as cardio and weight-lifting.
One reason for this is that vinyasa yoga burns calories even more so than other forms of yoga because you’re moving consistently, not just switching between poses. Another way in which vinyasa yoga helps to support weight loss is by building muscle.
Holding yoga poses is a way of increasing muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the better your body’s metabolic rate. Vinyasa yoga includes poses that often involve holding yourself with your body weight.
This is a simple, but effective way to build not only muscle and strength. That muscle mass can come in handy, especially if you’re an older adult.
Muscle mass and bone density help to prevent damage caused by slips and falls. There are more than just aesthetic reasons to prioritize muscle building.
If weight loss is the key goal you want to achieve with vinyasa yoga, you’ll also need to focus on eating healthy. My recommendation is to follow an anti-inflammatory diet for good gut health.
In addition to yoga, this is a huge focus area for me. You can even click here to grab your FREE anti-inflammatory diet food list.
Back Pain Relief
All types of yoga, including vinyasa yoga, involve stretching the body in some way. Yoga can provide relief to people with back pain in pretty much the same way that traditional stretching can.
In fact, the American College of Physicians recommends yoga as a first-line treatment for back pain. A vinyasa flow that’s commonly associated with reducing back pain is cat-cow.
Mental Health Benefits
Yoga is commonly recognized as a form of exercise that doesn’t just benefit the body, but the mind and soul too. Yoga can be good for mental health for multiple reasons.
For one, taking part in yoga encourages you to switch your mind off entirely and put some time aside for yourself. Prioritizing self-care in a world obsessed with achievement is easier said than done.
Committing to a regular yoga practice is an excellent way to put your needs first. Practicing yoga provides you with an enjoyable activity to do on your own terms.
Second, all types of yoga include some form of breathwork. Vinyasa flow yoga in particular involves synchronizing both inhales and exhales with movements. Breathwork has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and provides people who practice it with better mental focus.
On top of all that, taking part in yoga gives you a sense of satisfaction and achievement. When you include the benefits of weight loss and better health this can help improve self-esteem. These positive effects of vinyasa yoga come together to help yogis with mental health challenges.
Yoga helps to engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes your body after experiencing stress or danger. The more relaxed you feel, the easier you might find it to get to sleep at night.
Regular exercise also makes it easier to get to sleep by tiring your body out. You might find yourself ready for some shut-eye as soon as your head hits the pillow.
Better sleep in and of itself promises health benefits, such as the ability to manage your weight more effectively and reduced stress. So the next time you’re going through a period of sleeping badly, you know what to do. Sign up for a vinyasa yoga class!
Some people are put off adding yoga into their routine through fears that they’re not flexible enough to adequately carry out the movements. The best thing about yoga is you don’t have to be flexible to begin with – it’s a myth!
You will, however, enjoy increased flexibility as a positive side effect of introducing a regular yoga practice into your routine.
Increases Fitness Levels
One of the biggest differences that vinyasa yoga has from hatha yoga is that it’s more fast-paced. While this can make it slightly more challenging, it also makes it better for building your fitness levels because you’re increasing your lung capacity.
With regular yoga practice of at least three times per week, you can expect your fitness level to increase steadily. You might find you even have an improved ability to perform other types of exercise, such as running or dancing.
Improves Body Image
If losing weight or looking more toned is one of your priorities, vinyasa yoga can help. As discussed previously yoga burns calories and builds muscle, and that can lead to a ‘toned’ look.
Weight loss can help with improved self-esteem and body image. Even if you’re not looking to lose weight, learning a new exercise skill can give you new admiration for and appreciation of what your body can do.
Improves Mobility and Range of Motion
Improving your mobility and range of motion is often overlooked, but it is extremely important, especially for older adults. Good mobility and range of motion is key to reducing injury, relieving pain, and improving posture.
If you find yourself struggling to carry out tasks around the house due to reduced mobility, regular vinyasa yoga can help with that. Vinyasa focuses on improving your ability to move through poses, as well as your flexibility and balance. Regular vinyasa yoga practice can culminate in improved mobility and the ability to use your body in versatile ways.
How Often Should I Practice Vinyasa Yoga to See Its Benefits?
As a rule of thumb, you should aim to practice vinyasa yoga somewhere between 3 and 5 times per week. If you practice fewer than 3 times a week, you may struggle to see results as quickly.
By practicing yoga regularly, you’ll not only see the health benefits you’re looking for, but you’re also more likely to improve your abilities thanks to increased strength, flexibility, and balance. This can allow you to progress to advanced classes.
In general, it’s best to avoid practicing yoga more than 5 or 6 times a week. Your body needs time to rest and recover, especially if you experience muscle soreness as a result of yoga poses.
When you’re first starting, it’s normal to experience muscle soreness. You should avoid practicing yoga when you’re especially sore to allow for recovery instead. If you insist on staying active in some capacity during your rest days, consider taking a walk or doing some gentle stretching.
Who Can Benefit from Practicing Vinyasa Yoga?
Vinyasa yoga is a form of exercise that genuinely anybody can benefit from, no matter your age and current fitness level. Depending on your previous experience and other factors such as your flexibility, you may need to make some adjustments to your practice. But on the whole, vinyasa is accessible for all.
If you want to include more movement into your life, but you struggle with high-impact cardio, you might find vinyasa yoga especially beneficial. Vinyasa yoga can be adapted to be low-impact and you don’t need a high level of fitness to take part.
It’s relaxing too! It’s a great option if you’re looking for a form of exercise that doesn’t raise your cortisol levels or cause inflammation.
Is it for Beginners? Is It Difficult?
If you’re new to yoga, it’s natural to worry that vinyasa yoga might be too challenging for you. We’ve been discussing how it’s slightly more fast-paced than other forms of yoga, which might make it seem more difficult.
But, the good news is that vinyasa yoga is suitable for beginners. If you’re struggling with balance or flexibility, your yoga instructor can support you in making adjustments so that movements and poses are suitable for your level of fitness. You’ll find that if you practice vinyasa yoga multiple times per week, you’ll soon see progress in your abilities.
There are many vinyasa yoga benefits for your health, giving you numerous reasons it’s a smart move to practice it.
Looking to lose weight? Vinyasa yoga can help. Struggling with anxiety or poor sleep? Vinyasa yoga can help. Need to relieve back pain? Vinyasa yoga can help.
Vinyasa yoga is fun, versatile, and boasts tons of health benefits, both physical and mental. If you’re not sure which form of exercise to add to your routine alongside a healthy diet, vinyasa yoga is the perfect option. And remember, no matter your age or fitness level, you can find a form of vinyasa that works for you.
Finally, if you’re ready to get started with vinyasa yoga then go ahead and try out my 10-day yoga challenge. It’s the perfect introduction for beginners. You will get access to ten 10-minute videos where you practice one per day. Just fill in the form below for access.