Yoga is an ancient tradition and is practiced by people around the world. It has the potential to do wonders for the body and the mind. It is effective in every shape and form and has a plethora of physical and mental health benefits.
Let’s delve into the concept of Vinyasa, a popular style of yoga.
What is Vinyasa Yoga?
Vinyasa is a style of yoga characterized by linking different postures together so that one can move from one posture to another seamlessly. It is commonly referred to as “flow” yoga since you are flowing from one posture to another. There are plenty of Vinyasa yoga classes around the world and the most unique part about it is that no two classes will be exactly the same. This makes it different from the “fixed form” practices such as Bikram yoga, where there are 26 fixed postures in every class.
The variable nature of Vinyasa Yoga helps you develop a balanced body, as well as prevent injuries caused due to repetitive motion. Such injuries may occur when you are doing the same postures every day. Vinyasa yoga recognizes the temporary nature of things where you enter into a posture, stay there for a while, and move on to the next one. Vinyasa yoga has been in practice since the Vedic age, where it was referred to as a series or sequence of steps to make something sacred.
Vinyasa yoga is a breath-initiated practice that connects every action of our life with the intention of moving towards what is sacred, or most important to us.
While Vinyasa yoga is one of the most popular forms of yoga today, there is still a lot to learn about the benefits of the practice. Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of Vinyasa yoga.
Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga:
Vinyasa yoga is said to be beneficial for both your mind and body, as it gives you a full-body experience. It is one of the very few forms of yoga that helps you tone up and lose weight at the same time. Here are some of the most vital benefits of Vinyasa yoga:
Offers strength training:
One of the biggest advantages of practicing Vinyasa yoga is that it actually helps you build strength. Vinyasa yoga can be a form of strength training and helps build lean muscle mass throughout the body. This leads to building resistance in the body as your stress and work out certain muscles when you practice backbends, inversions, arm balances, and more. This form of yoga is highly effective for building lean muscle mass as it gives equal attention to different muscle groups throughout the body. This creates a balanced strength throughout.
Many people can lead a sedentary lifestyle that doesn’t involve a lot of physical activity. This can lead to stiff muscles which are not only uncomfortable but also make it difficult to move. When you practice the Vinyasa flow, continuous movements help you stretch and strengthen your muscles simultaneously. This increases mobility as well as a range of motion. Even better, since your breath is in sync with your movement, fresh oxygen enters the body and loosens up the muscles. When the muscles are flexed, the stress is released and reduced from the tendons, ligaments, and joints. This improves flexibility in the body and reduces the risk of injuries, muscle tears, and muscle pulls.
Like any other yoga technique, Vinyasa yoga also helps in relieving stress. In fact, Vinyasa yoga is said to work at physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels, thus helping to connect the mind and the body. This helps in relieving anxiety and stress. Mindfully practicing Vinyasa yoga enables you to shun the negative thoughts running through your mind and focus on your breath instead. As your entire focus is on inhaling and exhaling, the central nervous system is calmed down, which can have an extremely positive effect on the body. Due to its nature of calming the mind and shifting your focus from external factors to internal factors, Vinyasa yoga is called by many a practice of moving meditation.
Improves breathing technique:
As we mentioned before, mindful breathing is one of the most important parts of practicing Vinyasa yoga. When practicing this form of yoga, you are forced to focus on your breathing for the duration of your session. That means you practice with full awareness about your being. Vinyasa yoga generally adopts the Ujjayi method of breathing. This method of breathing not only helps you fill your lungs with oxygen to its full potential but also removes all the toxins. Ujjayi breathing can also help calm your mind, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other heart diseases. You will instantly feel your organs healing and working at their peak potential, and you may start to lose weight and sleep better.
Vinyasa yoga is a fast-paced practice compared to other forms of yoga. Many postures involved in Vinyasa yoga require you to support your body against the force of gravity, which exerts a lot of energy. It also works on many different muscle groups, which results in the burning of calories. The link between the breath and the movement of your body increases the heart rate, and experts say that during a one-hour session of Vinyasa yoga you can burn up to 450 calories.
When you practice Vinyasa yoga, a lot of heat is generated in the body. This helps in improving blood circulation throughout the body. Even while breathing, you eliminate toxins through your breath, thus inducing a total body detox. With regular practice of Vinyasa yoga, you will notice that you feel more energized and productive throughout the body and feel less tiredness and fatigue.
Some sequences of Vinyasa yoga:
These are some popular Vinyasa yoga sequences that can help your body and mind:
Pose 1: Plank pose (Kumbhakasana) – Inhale as you come into a high push-up position, with your hands under the shoulders and feet hip-distance apart.
Pose 2: Knee-Chest-Chin pose (Asthanga Namaskara) – Exhale as you lower your knees to the floor, keeping your elbows tucked in towards your sides. Note that your hips must be lifted off the floor, but your chest and chin should touch the floor. Place your chest between your hands.
Pose 3: Cobra pose (Bhujangasana) – Inhale as you draw your chest forward while maintaining your hands underneath the shoulders. Extend your legs along the floor and un-tuck your toes. Draw your shoulders back and lift your chest, keeping your stomach on the floor.
Pose 4: Downward-Facing Dog pose ( Adho Mukha Svanasana) – Exhale as you lift your hips and roll over your toes while you place the soles of your feet on the floor. Ground down through your hands and the soles of your feet as you lengthen your spine. Next, you lift your body and hip bones to the sky.
Pose 5: Four-limbed Staff pose (Dandasana) – Exhale as you lower your body towards the floor, hovering around 4 inches above the mat. Make sure you keep your elbows tucked in towards your sides. Straighten your legs and reach back through your heels.
Pose 6: Upward-Facing Dog pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) – Inhale as you draw your chest forward and straighten your arms. Draw your shoulders back and lift your heart to the sky. Press through the tops of your feet, lifting your thighs off the floor and fully engaging your leg muscles. Make sure your elbows are tucked in towards your sides.
Other common sequences:
Sun Salutations (Suryanamaskar) –
Surya Namaskar is a sequence of poses performed in many forms of yoga including Vinyasa yoga. It is one of the most basic and well-known sequences of yoga and is used by many who might not even have heard of Vinyasa yoga. Just like any other sequence, Surya Namaskar has a corresponding movement for every inhale and exhale. This sequence is also really helpful for beginners to learn how to synchronize their breath with every movement, before moving on to other, more difficult sequences.
Cat-Cow Stretch (Bidalasana)
This is a combination of two different poses (The cat stretch and the cow pose). In Vinyasa yoga, the two poses are performed together to make a single sequence. This is another sequence that can be performed by anyone, regardless of their flexibility or practice. To practice this pose, get down on all fours into a tabletop position. Make sure your palms are directly beneath your shoulders, and knees directly beneath your hips, with the tops of your feet down on the mat. While inhaling, look up and stretch your entire spine and tailbone. This is called a cat stretch. Now when you exhale, relax your shoulders, and arch into a cow pose, turning your eyes towards the naval and tucking your tailbone in. Repeat this several times before moving on to another sequence.
Side plank pose (Vasisthasana)
The Side plank pose is one of the most challenging sequences of Vinyasa yoga. It tests your balance, engages the thigh muscles and the glutes, and builds strength in the arm muscles all at the same time! To practice the Side plank, you must be relying on only one arm and your legs to hold your body up. The weight of all your body would be falling on your one arm and your legs. Make sure your hips are in line with the rest of your body, and keep your back straight, with one arm reaching towards the sky.
Standing forward bend (Uttanasana)
This is one of the most basic standing poses of Vinyasa yoga. It is done with every movement corresponding to an inhale or exhale. To practice this pose, inhale while you raise your arms upward, trying to reach as high as you can without lifting your heels. Then exhale and hinge your body forward, keeping the legs straight, and arms reaching out to the floor, going as low as possible without bending your legs.
How does CBD help with yoga practice?
Out of all the things practicing yoga helps you with, depression and anxiety are the most common reasons why a lot of people have been turning towards yoga lately. Yoga helps you calm down, go inward, and let go! All eight limbs of yoga help you soothe in the short-term, as well as teaches you skills for addressing anxiety with calm bravery. And you know what else helps you with very similar things? You guessed it – CBD!
CBD is a cannabinoid compound found in marijuana and hemp plants. While marijuana plants are more intoxicating, CBD derived from hemp plants contains much lower levels of THC, the compound that causes you to feel “high”. Several studies have found that CBD can be used as a medicinal product that can help you stay calm, relaxed, and reduce stress and anxiety. Some of the common benefits of using CBD-induced products include pain relief, decreased inflammation, mood stability, reduced overthinking, anxiety and depression.
This makes CBD a natural fit for yoga practice. It can significantly enhance your experience of practicing yoga, especially if you have a wandering mind. Also, CBD can be useful with sore joints and muscles. CBD works with the cannabinoid receptors in the body which is located throughout the endocannabinoid system. This is the same system that alerts your brain every time you experience pain. When you take CBD, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system and encourages it to produce an increased number of natural cannabinoids, which helps in balancing the system and produce an anti-inflammatory response. CBD can also help you prolong the feeling of bliss that you usually get after practicing yoga. When we are feeling good, our brain produces and releases a transmitter called ‘Anandamide’ or ‘bliss molecule’. This bliss molecule is easily broken down which is why it doesn’t produce a perpetual state of happiness. CBD helps prevent the breakdown of these molecules, thus prolonging the feeling of happiness.
If you want to know more about what we discussed above, we recommend that you watch this helpful conversation with Kirsty, a yoga teacher, about how CBD products and regular yoga made her life better: IGTV Link
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