There’s something about Vinyasa Yoga that is deeply calming, and dare I say, seductive. On most occasions these two descriptions would be at odds with one another. It is hard to envision being calm and open while experiencing the rising heat of seduction, yet if you’ve tried Vinyasa you probably know what I mean.
Vinyasa is often known as ‘Moving with the Breath’ or ‘Moving Meditation‘. It’s the practice of flowing from one asana (posture) to another in sync with your natural, full breath. You may have done Vinyasa Yoga without realizing it – like in the expansion and contraction of ‘cat’ (or ‘cat and cow’, to some), or during your Surya Namaskar – the sun salutation. Your teacher or instructor may have led you through it’s physical aspects during your regular class. It may have sound similar to “Inhale. Come up to Plank. Exhale into Down Dog. Inhale again and go back to Plank…”. Vinyasa Yoga is dynamic – it is moving with breath to create heat and rhythm.
What then makes this practice so much more than just motion and breath? There are, of course, a litany of internal benefits such as increased and improved circulation, the strengthening of cardiac muscle and diaphragm, the massage of the muscles and organs during movement, and so on. However, the most important aspect of Vinyasa is ‘Yog’, the original Sanskrit term that alludes to ‘Unity’. Vinyasa Yoga is, at it’s core, the practice of unity as it brings the body, mind and breath together in a single, sharp focus. We find stilness in movement, and silence in the beating of our hearts and the sound of our breath.
It’s attaining that moment that I find seductive, and it is in that moment I experience some of my deepest calm. My body flows from one asana to the next. The movement is performed with same ease and willful consideration I give my breath. Both actions are purposeful yet simple. A controlled action in sync with my intuitive, natural rhythm. On the surface my muscles contract and release, air is inhaled and exhaled, my movements are long and steady but within my body, deep below the mass of self, I am in total stillness. I am calm. I am aware. I am unified. I am alive.
Yoga is a practice of self-discovery and self-renewal. It’s easy in our day to day life to get caught up in the routine but we must always remember it’s in the dynamic of change that we find room to grow. Just like Vinyasa Yoga, we must ensure we do not focus so much on a singular aspect of our lives that we lose sight of another. Just like Vinyasa Yoga, the key is to take all experiences, all movements, every full breath and unify them into one whole self. The results are tremendous. No longer will individual labours of life appear to be another layer of chaos to confront. Instead, even in the most strenuous circumstances, you will understand that what you face in each moment isn’t the sum of your being but rather a unique action ready to joyfully join the cauldron of experiences already within you; a single being made whole by innumerable measures.