Vinyasa is a flowing style of yoga that links the breath with movement. The focus is on the inhale and exhale as you move from one pose to the next. Many vinyasa flow classes are done in a heated studio that can reach 80 to 85 degrees. Vinyasa yoga offers benefits to the body and mind.
Vinyasa yoga serves as a strength-training process and helps build lean muscle mass throughout the body. The different poses, especially the standing, arm balances, backbends and inversions utilize body resistance while placing stress on muscles and fatiguing them. The benefit of using vinyasa yoga as a primary method of building lean muscle mass is that all muscle groups receive equal attention, creating balanced strength throughout the body.
Stiff muscles are uncomfortable and difficult to move. The continual flowing movements of vinyasa yoga help stretch and elongate your muscles while they are being strengthened, allowing you greater mobility and range of motion. Other forms of yoga, such as anusara or iyengar, hold the poses for a longer period of time, which can be uncomfortable for tight muscles. But a constant flow, tied to the breath, allows for fresh oxygen to fuel and loosen muscles. Flexibility in the muscles also takes stress off the joints, ligaments and tendons, and helps prevent injuries like muscle pulls and tears.
Vinyasa yoga works on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels to connect the mind with the body and relieve stress and anxiety. Mindfully moving through the continual flowing poses during a vinyasa class can help alleviate the static thoughts that may be running through your head. Focusing on the inhale and exhale of your breath results in a positive, calming effect on your central nervous system.
Vinyasa yoga forces you to focus on your breathing for 60 to 90 minutes. The vinyasa breathing method of ujjayi pranayama helps calm and quiet the brain, while kapalabhati pranayama can help purify your brain and body.
There are physiological and medical benefits to vinyasa yoga. It can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it can help detoxify the body so functions, systems and organs operate more efficiently. It also can balance your metabolic system, helping you sleep better and aiding in weight loss.