The flowing practice that links breath with movement in a sequence of postures.
OVERVIEW : VINYASA YOGA 20th Century AGE : Developed in the 20th century by T. Krishnamacharya and popularised by his students, including B.K.S. Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois. NATURE : Dynamic and fluid style of yoga that emphasises the seamless flow of movement with breath. CONTENT : Involves transitioning through a series of postures while coordinating breath with movement. Poses are connected through mindful sequencing. PURPOSE : Vinyasa Yoga aims to cultivate strength, flexibility, balance, and mindful awareness. It seeks to harmonise body, breath, and mind. FOCUS : The primary focus is on the synchronicity of breath and movement. This style promotes creative sequencing that encourages practitioners to explore their body's capabilities. YOGA : Vinyasa Yoga is a contemporary interpretation of yoga that blends postures with a dynamic, flowing practice. TEACHINGS : Emphasises the importance of the breath as a guide for movement, and encourages practitioners to stay present and connected throughout the practice. LANGUAGE : The teachings and instructions for Vinyasa Yoga are commonly communicated in the language of the region where it is practiced.
Ancient - Modern Yoga
These modern forms of yoga as we know them today, are the result of a reframing of practices and belief frameworks within India itself over the last 150 years in response to encounters with modernity and the West. In spite of the immense popularity of postural yoga worldwide, there is little or no evidence that asana (excepting certain seated postures of meditation) has ever been the primary aspect of any Indian yoga practice tradition, including hatha yoga. In texts on yoga from the 17th Century onwards, in contrast, asana becomes a central concern. In the late 18th century, a new ‘yoga’ revival began to emerge, most notably with the teachings of Vivekananda (1863-1902) who is said to have initially introduced the concept of yoga to the Western world in 1893. Vivekananda considered asana as a means to an end, that asana practices didn’t represent yoga in its entirety. He stated : ‘We have nothing to do with it here, because its practices are very difficult, and cannot be learned in a day, and, after all, do not lead to much spiritual growth,’ The timing of interest in yogic practices coincided with the rise and spread of gymnastics and bodybuilding—which were being developed as a system of therapeutic movements—leading to the emergence of the phrase ‘mind, body and spirit'. In 1895 sanskrit scholar; Srisa Chandra Vasu, said in his translation of the Gheranda Samhita, various postures found in the book were ‘gymnastic exercises, good for general health, and peace of mind’. In India, German bodybuilder Eugen Sandow (1867–1925), and yogi Sri Aurobindo (1872–1950) did their bit to combine elements of bodybuilding and yogic asanas. Thereafter, figures such as T. Krishnamacharya were key in the emergence of yoga as a physical culture on a global platform. It is well suggested that Krishnamacharya evolved his influential postural forms out of an extant royal gymnastic tradition of the Mysore Palace. Tracing back the poses to an exercise manual from the Palace library. “An examination of the 18th - early 20th century European gymnastics manuals in the British library showed without much doubt the new yoga authors had grafted elements of modern physical culture onto authentic hatha yoga and seemingly excised those parts that were difficult to reconcile with the emerging health and fitness discourse.”
Lineage (Krishnamacharya Ashtanga Yoga)
Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888–1989) was a highly influential figure in the world of yoga and is often referred to as the "father of modern yoga. He was a visionary yogi who played a pivotal role in rejuvenating and redefining the practice of yoga. Early Life and Education: Born in a small village in South India, Krishnamacharya displayed an early interest in yoga and Vedantic philosophy. He studied under various masters and scholars, delving deep into the ancient Indian texts to understand the principles of yoga, Ayurveda, and other traditional sciences. Yoga Revival: During a time when yoga was fading in prominence, Krishnamacharya worked tirelessly to revive and popularise it. He believed that yoga was adaptable and should be tailored to suit individual needs. Personal Practice and Mastery: Krishnamacharya was known for his exceptional physical and spiritual capabilities. He was said to have mastered many yoga asanas, pranayama techniques, and other yogic practices. His own practice served as an inspiration to his students and followers. Individualised Approach: One of Krishnamacharya's notable contributions was his emphasis on adapting yoga practices to the individual. He recognised that each person's body and needs were unique, and he tailored his teachings accordingly. This approach laid the foundation for modern therapeutic yoga and personalised instruction. Prominent Students: Krishnamacharya's teachings attracted numerous students, many of whom went on to become influential yoga teachers themselves. Some of his notable students include B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and T.K.V. Desikachar. Each of these students developed their own distinct styles of yoga, building upon the principles imparted by Krishnamacharya. Experience their classes below. Yoga Lineages: Krishnamacharya's influence gave rise to several prominent yoga lineages. For instance, B.K.S. Iyengar developed Iyengar Yoga, which emphasises alignment and the use of props. Pattabhi Jois founded Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, characterized by dynamic sequences of postures. T.K.V. Desikachar developed Viniyoga, focusing on personalised therapeutic applications of yoga. Legacy: Krishnamacharya's emphasis on integrating the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of yoga, as well as his innovative approach to teaching, have left a lasting imprint on how yoga is practiced and taught globally. His legacy lives on through his students and the countless practitioners who continue to benefit from his teachings.
The Surya Namaskar, also known as Sun Salutation, is a sequence of yoga postures performed as a way to express gratitude and pay homage to the sun. While the concept of saluting or honouring the sun has been present in various cultures throughout history, the specific practice of Surya Namaskar as it is known in modern yoga is not explicitly mentioned in ancient yoga texts. The modern form of Surya Namaskar, as a sequence of postures linked with breath, seems to have evolved over time and was likely popularised by yogic lineages in more recent history. Some say that the Sun Salutation or modified burpee, was invented by the raja of Aundh in the early 20th century, with his interest of gymnastics and body building, then spread to the West in the 1920s or 1930s. However old the Sun Salutation is, and whatever it may originally have looked like, many variations have evolved over the years. The Sun Salutations are a combination of poses practiced in series and introduce different elements of movements to the body, models on which to build a full practice. Incorporating vinyasa flow, transitions, pose and counterpose, centering, forward folding, arm balancing, back bending and inverted asana, giving an almost total body experience, minus twisting and side bending. Tadasana (Mountain Pose) Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute) Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) Ardha Uttanasana (Half Standing Forward Bend) Phalakasana (Plank Pose) Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose) Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) Urdhva Mukha Svanasana ( Upward-Facing Dog Pose) Adho Mukha Svanasana ( Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
The word "vinyasa" is derived from the Sanskrit language, which is the ancient language of India and has been used traditionally in yoga practices. In Sanskrit, "vinyasa" (विन्यास) is a compound word composed of two parts: "Vi": This prefix often indicates variation, differentiation, or a special way of doing something. "Nyasa" : This term can be translated to mean "to place" or "to arrange." Therefore, when you combine these elements, "vinyasa" can be roughly translated to mean "to place in a special way" or "to arrange in a particular manner." In the context of yoga, it refers to the specific sequencing and arrangement of yoga poses with coordinated breath, creating a flowing and purposeful movement practice. The ‘vinyasa’ sequence is known as the section of the sun salute from plank pose to downward facing dog.