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Vinyasa yoga (flow yoga)

During a Vinyasa style class, every movement and stretch coincides with an inhale or an exhale, linking the series of poses with the breath.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: August 15, 2012

The term "vinyasa" is a recurring one that you'll come to hear over and over, even in non-vinyasa classes. The instruction "go through your vinyasa" means to move from plank, to chaturanga, to upward facing dog.

During a vinyasa -style class, every movement and stretch coincides with an inhale or an exhale, linking the series of poses with the breath. This graceful transition from pose to pose is simply called "flow."

Benefits of vinyasa yoga (flow yoga): Vinyasa yoga doesn't adhere to a strict sequence of positions. Each class is based on the instructor's mood. This makes vinyasa-style classes both unpredictable and challenging. Multiple push-ups build lean, strong arm muscles, while balancing poses work the core.

Who vinyasa yoga (flow yoga) is best for: Vinyasa flows are often integrated into other popular yoga styles like Ashtanga, Power Yoga and hot yoga. While vinyasa can enhance the quality of another yoga class, it can also be enjoyed on its own.

Getting ready: Eat lightly and stay well-hydrated before a vinyasa class. Bring water, a towel and a yoga mat (if you have one). Many yoga studios will rent out mats and, in some cases, towels too. Inflexible individuals should place a block or strap next to their mats in anticipation of deeper poses.

Calories burned: A one hour vinyasa-style class can burn approximately 400 calories, which is comparable to the number of calories burned during power or ashtanga yoga.

Celebrity Devotees

Celebrities love their vinyasa flows. In fact, it's the preferred method of Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady Gaga and Drew Barrymore, who all follow a form of vinyasa yoga.


Vinyasa classes are known for their quick flow of yogic positions. To prevent injuries such as strained muscles, tendons and joints modify any poses that are uncomfortable or painful. Do not be afraid to take child's pose.

Who shouldn't do it: Individuals looking to practice vinyasa yoga should be in good physical shape. Vinyasa can be vigorous, and may not be suited to the injured. Women who are pregnant may be unfit for particularly deep twists and back bends.

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