Vinyasa yoga classes are known for their dance-like flows as well as the variety of poses from class to class. There are many permutations of sequences in this style of yoga that range from slower and alignment-focused to faster power flows that are filled with arm balances and inversions. What I like best about teaching these types of classes is that they are a great reflection of our own lives. Bryan Kest, one of my favorite teachers once said, “how can you practice being calm through challenge when you’re not being challenged in yoga?” I like to teach classes that are unpredictable and full of little segments that resemble the types of things we experience “out there” in our regular lives.
Some people come to yoga to escape whatever is going on in their lives or to take a break from daily stress. Doing a set sequence that never changes is a great way to gage progress in poses but it also has a tendency to make you “zone out” because you already know what’s coming next. However, life is never predictable. There are many ups and downs, things are constantly changing, and we never know what to expect. Vinyasa yoga classes are a great opportunity to practice developing powerful tools such as staying calm through challenge, going with the flow and being mentally flexible enough to experience change gracefully. Life is sometimes filled with chaos, while other times it’s a little boring with not much going on. There are times when life is beautiful and filled with joy and other times it’s so painful that we want to run away and hide. The same holds true as we move through poses and ask our bodies to engage parts of us we didn’t even know we had. During certain points in the class we feel challenged, but strong. Other times we feel weak, frustrated, and competitive. Our bodies and breath respond differently to certain postures and sequences, yet we learn to accept this shift and let everything rise and fall with the breath. Inhale, exhale, I am here. We move through the whole class until the very end when we get to lie our backs and let everything go, or “die off” in savasana, or corpse pose. We rest. We allow ourselves to surrender and our mind begins to expand and become more open to higher awareness. After a few peaceful minutes we’re back, coming into the world again with more clarity, less tension and more inner peace.