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Vinyasa: Keep On Flowing

Apr 10, 2019

Written by Julia Jonson

Ostensibly for some, going with the flow, being adaptable, and rolling with the punches comes easily. As we’ve all experienced, the dynamic and sometimes random nature of life makes it impossible to be prepared in any given moment. Since life will inevitably throw curveballs, adopting a more yielding way of existence does a body and mind good. This takes a lot of practice.

Vinyasa is a term used in postural yoga classes to describe an intelligent way of flowing and linking breath with movement. This concept can be directly applied to our daily lives. The term refers to gradual sequences that unfold with an inherent intelligence and accord. The word is derived from Sanskrit nyasa, which means to place, and the prefix vi, meaning in a special way. Vinyasa can also mean wise progression or an approach that takes practitioners from one point and skillfully moves them to the next. In essence, vinyasa could be viewed as a symbolic metaphor for life. When we practice trusting our instinct, garnering our wisdom, and learning from our experiences, we allow energy to flow more freely enabling us to thrive.  When we practice on the mat repeatedly, we create healthier habits for ourselves that may inform how we choose to live. Challenging physical, yogic transitions in class might tell us where and how we need to move towards growth. 

It is easy to ruminate over transitions and unavoidable obstacles. This is a significant struggle for many of us! A powerful symbol for being adaptable is that of a mountain stream. Even when the stream encounters obstacles, it adjusts effortlessly and keeps flowing forward. If we could better understand the symbolism of moving water, we might notice that life’s complications and transitions feel decidedly less stressful or overwhelming. Yoga requires that we cultivate an awareness that links each action to the next—one breath at a time.

Vinyasa, which is not a style of yoga, but a pattern of flow present in all yoga traditions, is a reminder that constant change is a normal part of our existence. Therefore, moving skillfully and wisely on the mat can likely assist in our proceeding with prowess, wisdom, and heart in life. Rest assured, we will all get thrown off course over and over, but this also provides ample opportunity to grow and transform! Spiritual activist Dada Vaswani wrote, “sincere practice makes the impossible possible.” May it ever be so that you embody the free flow of the mountain stream because you’ve chosen to practice becoming more adaptable.

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