Lesson 10 Module 2
This word refers to the linking of body movements with inhales and exhales. The teacher will explain how to move between poses using the correct breath. Eventually you will see the general pattern and be able to feel it organically.
Vinyasa is the unique linking of one asana to the next in a serpentine flow. It is more than a simple set of physical manoeuvres. It is a dynamic marriage of our internal and external worlds.
Vinyasa orchestrates a balance of strength and flexibility, lightness and heaviness, movement and stillness. This integration manifests when the act of breathing and movement cease to be separate entities. The two actions converge to create a symphony of seamless unity. Each action encourages the other. They exist as one. The mind is then set free and the practice may become a rhythmic dance.
Through repetition our movements become ingrained in the muscles and nerves so that our mind becomes free to explore quiet spaces. Vinyasa also creates heat in the body which helps us become more flexible more quickly.
It also brings the body back to a neutral position between postures, it’s like erasing a whiteboard in between each pose so that we are completely ready for the next one. With practice employing this method we discover the great joy of moving body and mind in harmony. We begin to tap into our essence, our spirit becomes enlivened and the physical practice acts as a conduit for deeper explorations.
The use of vinyasa is specifically intended for householders, people who have jobs and families. Sometimes there can be found people known as renunciates who have no social duties and can spend 10 or more hours per day to practice, these people can spend 2 hours on breathing, another 2 hours on asana, and then more time on meditation and chanting and study.
For a yoga practice to work for householder it is necessary to compress it into 90 minutes and yet retain its benefits. With this in mind, the method of vinyasa was created long ago.
One of the outstanding features of vinyasa yoga is that postures are not held for a long time. It can be a trap to get fixated on poses or on the body. The core idea of vinyasa is to shift emphasis from poses to breathing and to therefore realise that poses, like all physical forms, are impermanent. Bodies, moods, structures, nations, all come and go. The quest of yoga is for the formless consciousness that underpins reality. So the practice is organised in a way that nothing is held onto except the breath, which is identified as a metaphor for consciousness itself.
The practice produces heat which is needed to burn toxins. The practice of jumping back and jumping through in between poses has this heating effect, as well as building strength. If poses alone are practiced there can be a risk of excess flexibility developing. With vigorous jumping we maintain strength and fitness to support the flexibility as it comes.