Most people get into yoga as it is beneficial for both your mind and body. Along with making you a lot calmer mentally, yoga — when done regularly — also improves your posture.
However, a lot of people don’t see yoga as a good exercise option when it comes to losing weight. Most of the asanas (or postures) in Hatha yoga are static and don’t require a substantial body movement. Hence, it makes sense for people to think of yoga as more of a mind-body exercise and not a tool for weight loss.
That being said, yoga postures, when performed in a sequential flow, can help you lose weight. Vinyasa yoga is a form of exercise that combines postures from several other types of yoga and forms a potent high-intensity workout. Bear in mind, though, Vinyasa yoga is not the same as power yoga.
In Vinyasa yoga, you perform more postures per set. Also, the intensity is quite high as you are not allowed to stop or pause in between two postures. In this post, I have discussed the history, benefits, safety precautions, and research on Vinyasa yoga.
Brief History of Vinyasa Yoga
The Sanskrit meaning of Vinyasa is “to transition from one state to another.” The sets consist of several postures clubbed together, and the practitioner is required to make a smooth transition from one posture to another.
Vinyasa yoga was not invented by a single person or an organization. Several ancient yogis experimented to finally come up with the most effective Vinyasa flow yoga.
Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois are some of the ancient Indian yogis who made an immense contribution to Vinyasa yoga. Due to its increasing popularity, other spin-off schools such as Beryl Bender Birch and Baptiste Yoga also came to the limelight.
In this post, I am going to be discussing modern Vinyasa yoga taught by Sharath Jois (grandson of Pattabhi Jois).
The Health Benefits of Vinyasa Flow Yoga
1) Relieves Stress and Makes You Happy
Vinyasa yoga is one of the best stress removers out there. “Work-related stress causes 120,000 deaths and results in $190 billion in healthcare costs yearly,” says a stat from the American Institute of Stress. A large number of people have begun to accept and acknowledge the presence of stress in their lives.
Whether the mental stress is related to work, relationships, or health, if kept untreated, can lead to life-threatening diseases. Vinyasa yoga helps you manage stress-related hormones like adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine effectively.
2) Helps You Lose Those Unsightly Extra Pounds
Weight loss is one of the biggest reasons people gravitate towards high-intensity workouts. Vinyasa yoga is not similar to power yoga or High-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Transitioning from one posture to others requires a lot more focus and practice. Plus, it is also science-backed to help you lose weight. Further, in this post, I have shared research related to Vinyasa yoga.
3) Makes You Physically Stronger
If you wish to lift weights but do not have the strength and endurance required to do it safely, you can begin with a no-risk and significantly low-effort requiring exercise routine known as Vinyasa yoga.
This exercise routine is not as passive as Yin yoga, but the postures are intended to help you built core strength. After 2-3 months of regular practice, you will notice the difference in the way you stand on your feet, move, and run. Vinyasa flow yoga will definitely add a spring to your step.
4) Increases Flexibility of the Body
Unless you are a professional athlete or your job involves travel, you probably work in an office environment–like a lot of us do. Sitting in an office chair for 8-10 hours a day can take a toll on your hips and surrounding areas.
A stagnant lifestyle can be detrimental to both men and women. Vinyasa yoga flow will break the dormant pattern that is ruining your life and make you more agile and active. The more proficient you get with the postures, the better you will be able to transition from one posture to another. Hence, better overall results.
How Often Should I Practice Vinyasa Yoga
Generally speaking, attending Vinyasa yoga class or practicing it in your home three times a week is ideal for a healthy adult. You get plenty of time to rest, reflect, and recover.
However, if you are supremely fit, you can do it five times a week. Again, the frequency of sessions should always depend on your current fitness levels and lifestyle. You don’t want your work or school to suffer by focusing too much on fitness.
What Does the Research Say
Similar to working adults, college and school students too are experiencing excess fatigue and tiredness. Academics are getting increasingly difficult year after year, and students have to work twice as hard to get the grades that can guarantee them a high-paying stable job.
Recent research by the University of Massachusetts reveals that regular practice of Vinyasa yoga results in acute improvements in the stress levels in the young-adult college population. In this study, researchers took twenty healthy adults (aged 20-something) and asked them to attend Vinyasa yoga classes biweekly for 8 weeks straight.
Before and after every yoga session, the stress levels in each student was determined using the Positive and Negative Affective Schedule (PANAS) and the Cohen Perceived Stress scale. Readings were recorded for further examination. Results showed that Vinyasa yoga does make them happy and optimistic.
What Do I Need to Know Before Joining a Vinyasa Yoga Class?
Before investing your hard-earned money in a Vinyasa yoga class, you need to make sure that you are physically fit to perform the exercises or not. If you are unfit and think by somehow dragging yourself through the classes will be able to get results, think again.
The biggest challenge beginners face when practicing a flow-based yoga routine is that they get stuck in between two postures and do not transition smoothly. Hence, consult the trainer or the yoga studio manager beforehand.
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