Beginner’s Guide to Vinyasa Yoga – How to Do 8 Key Yoga Poses

Yoga is one of those workouts you love it or you hate it. If you fall into the latter camp, let us pose a question: Have you tried Vinyasa yoga? While Bikram and Ashtanga are generally more intense (especially for beginners), Vinyasa yoga is ideal for beginners and skeptics. This is because the practice is so fluid, combining poses in sequences that emphasize the connection between breathing and movement.

For those looking to increase their heart rate during yoga, some versions will move faster than others, but it’s easy to change the favorite poses when you’re just starting out. However, do not read “easy to modify” as “easy”. Practice can be very athletic – chaturanga is no joke for those triceps.

Vinyasa yoga is also more varied than the other practices. There are some basic movements that you will encounter in most classes with some repetition of poses. But if styles of yoga with a monotonous routine quickly bore you, rest assured Vinyasa is mixing them up. Read on for a complete beginner’s guide, with an expert breakdown of eight basic moves.

What is Vinyasa yoga?

“Vinyasa yoga is a physical practice of yoga that focuses on linking yoga poses, or asanas, together in a fluid and fluid way, ”says Dani Schenone, certified yoga teacher and holistic wellness specialist at Mindbody. “Think of Vinyasa as a rhythmic, repetitive yoga that connects breathing with movement. ”

There are some essential differences between the practice of Vinyasa and other types of yoga. “While Hatha yoga focuses on holding an asana for several moments, Vinyasa yoga is faster,” says Schenone. Iyengar makes you settle into therapeutic poses while Vinyasa yoga encourages meditative movement.

There is no set temperature for practicing Vinyasa yoga as is the case with other styles – you can find outdoor options as well as studios with air conditioning or heating. “In a heated room, internal heat will build up much faster,” notes Schenone. But whatever your preference, you will build endurance in each of them over time, as it is an “invigorating practice”.

The benefits of vinyasa yoga

The benefits of Vinyasa yoga are both mental and physical. “It’s faster than other types of yoga, which makes it exceptional for those who want to use it as a way to improve cardiovascular health and build endurance,” says Schenone. That said, there is always ways to change if you haven’t been working out at a fast pace – many studios and fitness apps also offer simplified and slowed beginner classes. You will also increase your flexibility and even build strength with dedication.

“Think of Vinyasa as a rhythmic, repetitive yoga that connects breathing with movement. “—Dani Schénone

As a meditative approach to movement, Vinyasa also helps lift you out of your mind and into your body to find presence, says Schenone. While you may not notice it right away, your mental agility will change over time. The practice of Vinyasa encourages you to come back to the present moment, according to Schenone.

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8 key vinyasa yoga poses

Ready to try your hand at Vinyasa yoga? Here is a breakdown of eight common movements to start your practice:

Downward facing dog

How? ‘Or’ What: In a table position, wrap your toes in the mat and extend your legs, lifting your hips skyward.

Beginner modification: Bend your knees.

Dog head up

How? ‘Or’ What: Start by lying face down on the mat with your legs extended directly behind your body. Place your palms on the mat next to your shoulders. Next, extend your straight arms to lift your upper body while simultaneously and gently arching your back and lifting your thighs and shins off the floor.

Beginner modification: Keep your hips on the ground.

Chair Pose

How? ‘Or’ What: Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and sink in your hips. Tilt your lower pelvis upward. Stretch the back of your neck, looking at the ground four feet in front of you. Raise your hands to the sky, keeping the ribs knitted together.

Beginner modification: Place your hands in Anjali mudra (aka prayer hands) in the center of the heart.

Warrior 2

How? ‘Or’ What: Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Place your left foot behind you, keeping your toes facing the long side of the mat. The front foot will remain planted forward. Think about the alignment of the front heel to the back of the arch of the foot. Bend deeply into your front knee. Lift your arms towards a “T”, keeping your lower abdomen engaged. Switch sides and repeat.

Beginner modification: Shorten your position; place your hands in Anjali mudra, in the center of the heart.

Lateral angle

How? ‘Or’ What: From Warrior 2, place your front forearm on your front thigh with your opposite arm facing the sky. Stack your upper shoulder over your lower shoulder. Consider placing your lower hand above the floor, creating a “T” with your arms. Switch sides and repeat.

Beginner modification: Shorten your position; keep your forearm on your thigh.

Plank

How? ‘Or’ What: From a downward dog position, articulate the spine forward until you come to a plank. Think of it as a long line from your heels to the top of your head. Extend the shoulders. Engage the belly.

Beginner modification: Place your knees on the mat.

Chaturanga

How? ‘Or’ What: In a plank position, bend your elbows 90 degrees. Think of it like a triceps push-up with your elbows tight towards your sides.

Beginner modification: Place your knees on the mat.

Side plank

How? ‘Or’ What: From a plank pose, place your right hand just below your face. Tilt your heels to the right and raise your left hand to the sky. Stack your upper shoulder over your lower shoulder and your upper hip over your lower hip. Switch sides and repeat.

Beginner modification: Place your lower knee on the mat.

Tips for beginners in vinyasa yoga

As with anything new, you will want to familiarize yourself with Vinyasa Yoga as a beginner. Here, a few tips to get a head start:

Wear what you love

Form-fitting workout clothes are the best for monitoring your form in Vinyasa yoga. But Schenone recommends practicing what makes you most comfortable.

Go with your own flow

If you feel dizzy, Schenone advises returning to a table position and resting. “Don’t push yourself too hard,” she said. “Vinyasa yoga is a long game, and you want to protect the longevity of your practice. Listen to your body signals and move at your own pace, even if it is not the pace of other students or the instructor.

Courses and applications

There are so many options to choose the right Vinyasa course for you. A few to consider with many options for beginners:

CorePower Yoga
This national channel has tons of courses that cater to all skill sets, including beginners. Courses on demand are also available. The high-quality videos, ranging in length from five to 60 minutes, along with breakdowns of various poses, are beautifully filmed in a studio and guided by an instructor followed by students for a community feel.

Obey Fitness
The on-demand fitness app is more than aesthetic; it offers a bunch of well-guided workouts, from HIIT to barre and, of course, yoga. The app focuses on Vinyasa streams and features friendly instructors who expertly lead with encouragement.

Alo is moving
In addition to trendy sportswear, Alo offers yoga classes in workshop and via an app for home practice. Levels range from beginner to advanced with a tranquil atmosphere.

Mindbody
Whether you’re looking for an in-person class or a virtual class, Mindbody helps you find the class that’s right for you out of the thousands.

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