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Women doing the Upward Facing Dog Pose

What Kind of Yoga is Vinyasa?

There are many types of yoga that exist. It can be quite difficult to make a decision on the appropriate type. They are usually founded on the basic poses referred to as asanas. Even though they are all based on the basic yoga poses, your experience with each of them is usually different.

One of the common types of yoga is vinyasa yoga that is usually characterized by holding different poses together as you move from one to the other. Also referred to as power yoga, it is often confused with it.

In this article, we are going to answer one of the very common questions “what kind of yoga is it?” and look at some of its common characteristics and why you need to begin practicing it.

Definition: ‘vi’“nyasa”

The prefix ‘vi’ in Sanskrit means varying and the suffix “nyasa” means arranging things within given boundaries or parameters.  Therefore, the simple translation is organizing things in a particular way.

History: a creation by K. Pattabhi Jois

The person credited with the creation of vinyasa yoga is K. Pattabhi Jois. The initial idea was to get an appropriate way of carrying out all the different types of yoga at the same time. In fact, one of the main reasons why people prefer this type of yoga is because it involves movements. There is no any pointing time you are going to be free.

Common Characteristics Associated:

Connection of Posture to Breath

This refers to the process of linking or flowing with the different types of poses you are carrying out. It can also be referred to as ‘flow yoga’. In the other types of yoga, you are usually required to hold your poses for some time before you break them by simply coming out.


The transitions play an important role in connecting one pose to the other. In some special cases, these transitions can actually be considered to be poses. In order to master the art of vinyasa yoga, you will be required to develop your skills in transiting from one pose to the other.


This movement occurs when you move up and down when carrying out your poses. Even when you are still without doing any poses, the heart beat and breathe is counted as a movement.


As mentioned previously, breath is considered as a type of movement. It is therefore important to ensure that you synchronize your breath with the poses you are carrying out. The breathing technique used is ujjayi. To carry out this technique, you will need to inhale and exhale rhythmically through your nose.


One unique aspect of vinyasa is that it generates a lot of heat as compared to the other types of yoga due to cardiovascular movements.  This yoga can be practiced in a rigorous and dynamic manner thus generating heat. It can also be carried in a slow and gentle manner. However, you have to ensure that you have proper yoga clothing to reap the full benefits of this heat.

Vinyasa Yoga Poses

Beginner Level-Plank Pose

Women doing the Yoga Plank Pose

If you are beginning your session, it is highly recommended that you start in a plank posture. It is carried out by stepping back from the floor of the mat. You can also drop your knees to the floor of the mat. Always ensure that you have stacked the wrists and stacked the hips in the right position.

Cobra Pose

Women doing the Yoga Cobra Pose

To carry out this exercise, always ensure that the legs and pelvis are firmly rooted on the floor. Ensure that you inhale and exhale as you slide forward in a cobra position. As you lower the hips, ensure also lower your chest, raise up to create a cobra pose.

Downward Facing Dog

Women doing the Yoga Downward-Facing-Dog Pose

To carry out the Downward facing Dog, you should exhale and curl the toes as you straighten the arms. The hands and the legs should be shoulder-wide apart while the feet are hip-wide apart. Ensure you straighten up the spine when carrying out this exercise.

Advanced Level- Back to Plank

Women doing the Back-to-Plank Pose

This advanced level pose begins with the plank pose. In order to carry out the pose, ensure you move forward and be on your toes. Also ensure that the hips are not actually drooping towards the floor or hiked upwards.

Chaturanga Dandasana

Women doing the Yoga Chaturanga-Dandasana Pose

Exhale and bend the elbows straight back. Ensure your body is in line with the shoulders which should not be lower than the elbows. This pose can be quite difficult to hold but ensure that you hold it for some time before moving on to the next pose.

Upward Facing Dog

Women doing the Yoga Upward-Facing-Dog Pose

To carry out the pose, open the chest towards the ceiling and while dropping the hips on the floor. Press the hands and the feet to ensure that the thighs are lifted above the floor. Ensure that the shoulders are away from the ears.

What Makes it Popular?

As compared to other yoga training classes which might contain an average of about 12 students, you can find around 15-50 students or more in a vinyasa class. So, what might be the reason why this yoga is popular?

It Involves Aerobic Movements

When people are carrying out exercise, they prefer an exercise that involves a lot of movements and one that can make you sweat. Vinyasa is usually carried out in a number of sequences that repetitively work to bump blood within your body.

Most people equate frequent movements and sweat as an indicator of a great exercise. Even though the assumption is not necessarily true, it is a good indicator that you are working out your best so that you can move to the next class.

Easier to Teach and Learn

Unlike other types of yoga, it does not require one to take a long time training as a teacher. You will only require about a 2 years training before you finally get ready. Some other types require you to undertake almost a 4-year training before you become certified.

Given that it is easier to learn (interested in best yoga poses for beginners?), there are subsequently many teachers teaching it. They usually have a script that contains the sequences for each of the movements. A script is a great learning tool that ensures consistency during the entire training season. It will also prepare the learners on what to expect next giving them the confidence to carry out the exercises.

The poses contained in the script are crucial when learning. They are more of music notes that guide the student on what they should do. You have to learn the different poses in the script in order to perfect your skills.

It is a Fun Activity

If you ask most of the people why they got into yoga, they will tell you that the fun aspect is one of the major reasons. Something that you will love about yoga is that it is something that you carry out consistently. In fact it is quite difficult for you to get the benefits associated with this exercise if you do not do it frequently.

Should you Get Started?

Vinyasa yoga is one of the best types of yoga. However, it can work for you or not work for you depending on your preferences. If you like a series of movements when carrying out yoga, you can give it a try. Perhaps you will feel that you would prefer more unusual types of yoga, you can discover some of them here.

When carrying out yoga, it is important to note that there is no specific sequence that you need to follow meaning different trainers will give you different sequences. Your goal is to learn how to coordinate all these poses in a sequential manner to create a movement.

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