In Sanskrit Vinyasa means ‘to place in a special way’.
The Vinyasa process is centered around the flow of breath. Staying aware of our breath, we move into and out of asana (postures) on an inhale or exhale, staying aware of the breath within & between asana, therefore keeping our mind focused on the present moment so that the asana practice becomes a moving/static meditation.
Vinyassa is usually associated with dynamic movements. Some of these are incorporated into class to loosen and stretch the body and to generally warm up before slower and deeper postures.
The asana practice is guided by the rhythm of our breath so that we remain more deeply conscious of our practice & explore the relationship between the breath & body, breath & mind, & the body & mind.
This method allows the body to open slowly & gently, awakening a sense of connection of breath to movement into postures, strength & release of postures. It allows for deeper exploration of statically held asana (longer held postures) & deepens their effect. Becoming more present and focused allows us to notice how the body feels, to learn where our limits are and avoid injury. Using the breath like this as a tool, it is also a practical way to withdraw our senses from the outside world, slowing the thought process & inducing calmness, balance & a deeper connection with our sense of self.