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Vinyasa Flow

What is Vinyasa Flow?

Vinyasa Flow, or sometimes just called the Vinyasa, is a short sequence of poses -- Plank, Chaturanga, Upward-Facing Dog, Downward Dog -- that are part of the sun salutations. This sequence is also used throughout class for strength-building and to keep the body warm.

How do you do Vinyasa Flow?

  • Step 1

    Plank -- Start in Plank pose with your shoulders over your wrists, hips in line with your shoulders, legs straight and toes tucked under. Pull your navel into your spine to keep your core engaged and hips lifted. Feel your heels reaching toward the back of your mat. Your whole body should feel like it's working in this pose.

  • Step 2

    Chaturanga -- Look towards the top of your mat and keep your gaze forward. Shift your weight forward so your shoulders surpass your wrists. Maintain your plank shape (open chest, engaged core, active legs) as you bend your elbows straight back and lower your body in one straight line, halfway. Hug your elbows in toward your ribs to hover just for a beat.

  • Step 3

    Upward-Facing Dog -- Flip the tops of your feet to the mat, keep your legs engaged and straighten your arms, feeling your chest pull through your upper arms. Press the tops of your feet into the mat to keep your knees, thighs and hips lifted above the mat and make sure your shoulders are away from your ears.

  • Step 4

    Downward Dog -- Tuck your toes and lift your hips up and back. Your arms should remain straight, with hands and wrists in front of your shoulders. Try to straighten your spine by lifting the hips high and pulling your navel in toward your spine. Your heels will be lifted slightly off the mat.

How do you modify Vinyasa Flow?

  • Vinyasa Flow for Prenatal

  • Vinyasa Flow for Beginners

  • Advanced Vinyasa Flow

  • Vinyasa Flow for Weak Wrists

  • Vinyasa Flow for Weak Shoulders

  • Vinyasa Flow for Weak Lower Back

What are the benefits of Vinyasa Flow?

  • Core Strength

  • Arm Strength

  • Flexibility

Expert opinion

The Vinyasa is done often in classes and can be hard on the shoulders and wrists if it is not done correctly.

When you're new to yoga, take the beginner modifications to start out so you can learn the proper alignment and build strength. Even if you're not new, it's helpful to modify the first few vinyasas in a class or the last few if you're feeling tired to ensure your alignment is correct. Lastly, if you're not sure if you're doing it correctly or it doesn't seem to be getting easier when you're practicing regularly, ask your favorite teacher (or really any instructor) for help or tips!

Rebecca Weible,Yo Yoga! in New York City

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