What is Vinyasa?

In Sanskrit, “Nyasa” means "to place" and the prefix “vi” means "in a special way." So the literal transalation of Vinyasa is to place in a special or specific way. Vinyasa yoga is a flowing form of yoga where students coordinate movement with breath. Each movement is linked with the breath so you move with the inhale and exhale.

Vinyasa yoga stems from Ashtanga yoga – as taught by Krishnamacharya and popularised by Sri Pattabhi Jois. Ashtanga yoga prescribes a specific sequence of postures, each held for five breaths with each transition taking only one breath. Vinyasa yoga has no set sequence so each class will be unique, letting different teachers and styles of yoga influence the flow.

As with most Sanskrit words, Vinyasa also has another meaning. It is the term used to describe a specific sequence of poses (Chaturanga to Upward-Facing Dog to Downward-Facing Dog) commonly used throughout a vinyasa class.