Tag Archives: ujiyi

Vinyasa Love

18 Jun

Vinyasa is a style of hatha yoga, and I LOVE it.  Vinyasa simply means linking the movements of the asanas (the poses) to the breath.  Vinyasa yoga is generally taught as a flow, meaning there is a fluidity between the poses as opposed to holding the poses in a static way.  The type of vinyasa yoga that I do is taught in a room heated to about 100 degrees (this is in no way related to Bikram yoga, which is not vinyasa.)  The combination of the heat, the sweating, and the breathing, brings a real purification aspect to the practice.  The breath is done in an audible way, called ujiyi breathing, which sounds like an oceanic flow, it calms the nervous system and sounds very soothing, it also requires a lot of focus.  The gaze is set to a particular spot in each pose, called drishti, as opposed to just looking all around the room.  There are also the bandas to focus on, which is tightening the muscles in the pelvis and the abdomen.  As you can imagine, all of this requires extreme concentration!  This is why the practice is a type of moving meditation!  It is also why the practice could never possibly get boring, there is always a way to deepen.

The style that I do is based on Ashtanga yoga, which means it is pretty athletic.  We go through sequences fairly quickly.  We sometimes jump from one posture to the next.  We incorporate some pretty advanced balancing postures, but when we want to.  One of the things I love about the place I practice is there is a lot of emphasis on being true to what is needed in the moment, not forcing or comparing; and there is always an opportunity to grow.

Over the years I had tried yoga many times, going back to when I was a kid, because my mom used to teach yoga!  I wanted to like it!  But the truth is I didn’t.  And I didn’t really know enough about yoga to know that there were different styles that I should try.  I also used to think that hot yoga sounded horrible.  But on one cold, damp, winter day, about 7 years ago, I decided to give it a try.  And it was a perfect fit : )