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Vinyasa Yoga: Going with the Flow
Vinyasa yoga is a major influence at this studio. Check out Groupon’s rundown of a few key terms to learn what to expect.
Vinyasa: Sanskrit for “to place in a special way”—like “the arrangement of notes in a raga, the steps along a path to the top of a mountain, or the linking of one asana [pose] to the next,” as yogini and author Shiva Rea has poetically put it.
Breath-synchronized movement: one possible definition of vinyasa yoga. If you wrote out a sequence of poses, it might read: breathe in, upward-facing dog; breathe out, downward-facing dog; breathe in, look toward your hands; breathe out, step with your right foot between your hands. While there’s not necessarily a strict 1:1 breath-to-movement ratio, vinyasa-style classes do tend to hold fewer long poses than, say, hatha-style classes.
Sun salutation: This sequence of poses starts and ends standing, and in between incorporates chaturanga dandasana, which flows from a plank pose into upward-facing dog (which actually more resembles a seal posing on a rock) and then downward-facing dog (bend at the hips and touch the ground so that your legs and upper body form roughly a 90º angle). In between are many other possible moves—and even the basics can be modified depending on ability—but all variations are unified in their ability to warm up all the muscles and keep the sun from adjusting its thermostat to "broil." For that reason, classes that don't include at least one sun salutation are rare.
Ujjayi breath: a powerful, controlled expulsion of air through the nose that's produced from the diaphragm and makes a whispering sound in the back of the throat. The instructor may incorporate these breaths to physically warm up the body and keep up a rhythm to the changing poses.