By Clyde Granger
Yoga presents itself as a complete lifestyle, and while most people in the west associate Yogic methodology with a physical discipline involving a series of poses, the entire concept involves an eight pronged approach to realizing your best self, each component coming together helping individuals achieve what some refer to as a state of enlightenment.
While Hatha Yoga is a physical style in its most pure form, physical Yoga training has grown to incorporate more of the aerobic and strengthening aspects that are associated with physical fitness. Vinyasa, which stresses the use of breath as the impetus to move from one pose to the next, has emerged as one of the most popular ways to tailor the practice to fit your needs.
As the popularity of Vinyasa grew, more and more teachers began to adapt the style to fit both the needs of their students and their growing knowledge of the discipline, resulting in a number of varieties including Vinyasa Flow and Power Yoga.
The origins of Vinyasa Yoga can be traced back to 200 B.C. when Patanjali began constructing his ashta-ang, or eight limbed discipline that involves meditation, mental, and physical conditioning. Since then followers like Sri K. Pattabhi Jois from Mysore, India have committed themselves to refining the techniques of Patanjali to use more movement with breath as opposed to remaining in poses, or asanas, while breathing.
In 1964 Andre van Lysebeth visited Jois and studied with him for two months, after returning to Belgium he wrote a book entitled “Pranayama,” that included Jois’ photo and address. As a result, mostly European westerners began seeking out Jois, and gradually the practice of Vinayasa began to spread. Later in 1973, Norman Allen attended a seminar taught by Jois and became the first American to be exposed to, and consequently spread, the theories of Vinyasa in the United States.
Vinyasa itself is the series of movements that are done between each asana, so as a student moves from one pose to the next, they are said to have completed one “vinyasa.” Physically, the breath increases heat in the body and causes more sweating, which is meant to be purifying.
It is believed that the inspiration for these movements can be found in Vamana Rishi’s Yoga Korunta, and was later inspired by the training of Indian wrestlers and British gymnasts. Today, the practice of Vinayasa has been expanded to include styles suitable for adolescents, expecting mothers, and physically challenged individuals.
Aura Wellness Center has a Vinyasa Yoga teacher training home study course, which can be completed by distance learning.
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