What is Vinyasa and why do we practice it?
Vinyasa literally means circle in Sanskrit. A traditional vinyasa includes plank pose, chaturanga, upward facing dog/cobra pose and downward facing dog. Each movement done in coordination with the breath brings a sense of balance to the body and the mind. Vinyasa allows our practice to be a moving meditation and allows prana (life force) to move through the body: boosting endorphins, quieting the mind, while also energizing and strengthening the body.
How to practice Vinyasa?
Stepping or hopping back to Plank pose inhale brace core inward (naval to spine) roll ankles over toes, shoulders over wrist (towards finger mounds if possible), slight rounding of upper back as you externally rotate the biceps inward (energetically tearing your mat in two).
From plank pose, exhale and lower the body towards the mat, leaning forward so that the forearms remain perpendicular to the floor. Elbows draw into the sides of the torso while gaze is forward, the collarbone is spread (shoulders down away from the ears).
|Upward-facing dog / Cobra pose|
From chaturanga danasana inhale straighten arms, engage glutes and open the chest, gaze forward or up to the ceiling. Engage glutes to protect the lowest vertebrate from hyperextension.
From upward-facing dog/cobra pose, exhale and lift hips, soften knees until you can create a long line from wrists to hips. Externally rotate the arms to maintain an active shoulder girdle (elbows out, elbow creases face each other to avoid hyperextension/internal rotation), drawn navel inward, rotate the thighs in to lift the tailbone up. Spread weight around the hand, fingers spread wide with index fingers pointing forward.
Modify your vinyasa by taking away some of the load (bodyweight) by dropping to knees during plank or resting in child's pose instead of downward-facing dog. Remember vinyasa and your practice is your own and it should always be a celebration of what your body is capable of -- vinyasa should never be a punishment.
All my love,