Yoga For Beginners: Demystifying Vinyasa Flow – Free Online Yoga Video

So you’re a new yoga student in a fast-paced Vinyasa Flow yoga class, and the teacher keeps saying “now flow through your Vinyasa”. First of all, you probably didn’t know you had a Vinyasa (“is that a body part I never learned about?”); and second, the term Vinyasa is open to a wide range of interpretation based on the level of the practitioner.

Sometimes a handstand is thrown in on the way down to the ground; some yogis practice a basic version going down to the ground on the knees. But one thing seems certain: everyone in the room knows something you don’t!

I know the feeling of this scenario quite well. When I first started taking group yoga classes in San Francisco I had no idea what this mysterious Vinyasa was. I learned pretty fast that there was a lot I didn’t know about yoga, and eagerly mimicked those around me. I didn’t have the best form, but over time picked up the details of what I should be doing during this seemingly mysterious time of class.

Vinyasa Simplified: A Progression of Movements with Breath

Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word, and it has many meanings. But in its simplest form, it is translated as “to place in in a special way.”

In actual practice in today’s yoga world, Vinyasa refers to a gradual progression of poses aligned and linked with the breath, so that you move with each inhale and exhale. More specifically, the poses used in Vinyasa’s today are the Sun Salutation poses, which are used to weave together other poses into a Vinyasa Flow.

A Beginner’s Introduction to Vinyasa: Follow this Free Yoga Tutorial Video

To help you break down the vague “Vinyasa Flow” movement in class, check out the video tutorial below.

This is not the only way to do this sequence of movements – not by a long shot. But it’s a good beginner’s approach and will give you a solid foundation of proper alignment that will keep your body safe as you grow in your practice. Practice along with YogaUOnline’s Jasmine Punzalan, as she guides you through a great beginner’s vinyasa sequence.

The yoga poses you will see in this video are: Phalakasana (Plank Pose); Chaturanga Dandasana; Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose); Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog); Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog).

Beginning Your Vinyasa Flow: Starting from Standing – Mountain Pose

  1. Start by finding Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Stand with the feet hip distance apart and a tall spine.

  2. Inhale and reach the arms up overhead.

  3. Exhale and forward fold – hinge at your hips. Place your hands on your blocks at a height that is suitable for your level of hamstring flexibility.

  4. Inhale and present the heart forward – extending the spine long. Exhale and Forward Fold again.

  5. Step the left leg back into a lunge, and then the right foot back to join the left leg in Plank Pose.

Progressing Past Plank Pose – Phalakasana & Chaturanga Dandasana

  1. Make your body straight as a board in plank: from your heels all the way through your shoulders.

  2. Lift the tops of your thighs and tuck your tailbone underneath you. Inhale, and then lower yourself all the way to the ground on an exhale.

  3. Pin your elbows by your sides, and reach your chest forward as you lower. (The option to lower down on the knees is also offered in the video – you can choose either position depending on your strength.)

Bhujangasana: Baby Cobra

It’s always an option to substitute Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog) with Cobra pose. Even more advanced yogis will do this from time to time. It’s important to listen to your body and stay at the level you are at when in any yoga class. Cobra is a more accessible position for most people.

  1. Place the tops of the feet down on the ground, and bring your arms down by your side with your palms facing the ground.

  2. Separate your feet hip-width apart; spin your inner thighs away from one another. Keep the lower body grounded.

  3. Inhale and lift your head, chest, and shoulders off the ground. Peel the heads of the upper arms back. Keep your chin heavy.

Adho Mukha Svanasana: Downward Facing Dog

  1. Exhale and roll over the toes; come to downward facing dog.

  2. Let your head hang. Re-establish the steadiness of your breath.

Finishing Your Vinyasa

  1. Step the left leg forward into a Lunge, and then join the two feet together. Bring your body into a Forward Fold.

  2. Inhale and rise up to standing with a long spine – bring the arms up overhead. Exhale and lower the arms by your sides.

Like what you saw in this video? Watch the full class when you join the Practice Channel!

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