Sunday, February 19, 2012

"What do you think of vinyasa yoga?"

"What do you think of vinyasa yoga?"  I was asked this by "The Gremlins Hammer" who stumbled upon my blog. He's practicing Bikram yoga already, but is looking for some variety.

First what is vinyasa yoga? 
Yogis/yoginis practice an asana then the next asana, these asanas are connected via movements like a sun salutation or one goes to the next asana via downward facing dog. There is no fixed order of the asanas, so a teacher is necessary who guides the yogis/yoginis through a class. One has to listen what comes next.
Vinyasa yoga is a rather new invention of the yoga community. It seems to be popular. The source and the archetype of this direction of yoga is Ashtanga yoga.

I strongly recommend: Practice Ashtanga yoga. Why buying a copy of a Picasso if you can get the original?
The advantage is:
1. In Ashtanga yoga you know which asana comes next. This allows to practice alone. You don't have to be a choreopraph.
2. You can listen to your breath (uddjay breathing) and you don't need to listen to someone's else voice, which in my opinion is only a distraction from yourself and your practice. Sometimes there is in addition music in classes. A nightmare. As if we are not all overwhelmed already.
3. You can practice re your own rhythm when you practice Ashtanga yoga. Your breath gives you the rhythm.
4. You were looking for variety: Ashtanga yoga has 4 series and the rishi series. First one practices the sun salutations, then the standing sequence, then the middle part, then the closing sequence. The asanas of the middle part change from series to series. In the middle part are always more than 20 asanas which are connected via vinyasas. Usually it takes decades to master these series. Shall this be enough variety.
5. I love the Ashtanga community. I've never heard about a vinyasa community. It's a wonderful support to know people worldwide who practice the same and who share the same passion

Practice the original yoga. Switch to Ashtanga yoga. :)

Forget about these costume jewelery like Bikram and vinyasa yoga and moon yoga and sun yoga and whatever yoga. Wear pearls, practice the original yoga.

Usually I have difficulties to recommend Ashtanga yoga, yoga in general. Why?
- It's not for everybody. People who prefer to do outdoors sports won't be so attracted by indoor activities.
- Some people will miss the playful aspect that one has when doing something in a group like soccer.
- Yoga in general is not competitive. There is no winning and losing like in baseball which can be fun.
But you've already decided that yoga is something for you. Go for Ashtanga yoga, you'll be challenged for the rest of your life.

Ashtanga yoga is not invented originally to create a brand in order to make money. If you go to a class it's not as if you go to a party where you listen to some music. In my view this is more or less a marketing strategy. When you practice Ashtanga yoga you work with yourself. It's not only: "come on, let's have some fun". Why not having fun, I love to practice Ashtanga yoga, but this practice goes deeper. Finally it liberates from old concepts, old stories that are stored in the body. It can lead to inner peace and satisfaction.

And if you like it hot from time to time. I love it hot, too from time to time, then go to a sauna and relax.


dtw said...

If Ashtanga yoga is taught properly to a student (Mysore style), then I honestly feel there is nothing better. Since there are not many Ashtanga Studios where I live, I think the problem is that too many teachers (where I am anyway) try to teach a led primary series to beginners, even though many poses within that series are very difficult for someone new to the system. Maybe it is an ego-thing with the teacher. I think Vinyasa Yoga might be a safer option to an individual in a gym-style class, but does the teacher then just pick the poses that they know is easy to them? Do they make the sequence to suit the whole class, the majority of the class, or suit themselves and their own ability?

Ursula said...

Than you very much for sharing your view and experiences.

Shall this too help the one who asked to make a decision.


suzanne said...

as someone who has recently started to practice ashtanga (mysore style), after a couple years of vinyasa yoga practice, i feel that a good small vinyasa class could be safer for a beginner. proper alignment is taught, and modifications suggested for many poses. i love the ashtanga system, but the lack of instruction at the beginning stage is a bit unnerving, especially if you have injuries. i suppose one possibility is for a new person to try both ways. i know people who have tried ashtanga via led primary classes, which they did not like because they either did not know the series and they found it too hard.

love your blog by the way..was one of my inspirations to try ashtanga.

Quentin said...

I love, practice and teach Ashtanga Yoga, but I challenge you to complete Bikram Yoga Challenge 1 for 30 days. Maybe your perceptions of this practice will change. Cross training is good for the soul.

The Gremlins Hammer said...

Thanks for the post and for answering my question! Look forward to following your blog for your positive inspiration!

Ann said...

Hi, Ursula
You inspire me to look deeper into Ashtanga, too. Thank you for your interesting post.