There are many different styles of yoga, but vinyasa flow yoga is arguably one of the most popular. But what is vinyasa flow yoga and how is it different from other styles of yoga? Vinyasa flow yoga is, true to its name, a very fluid and flowing style of yoga, where each pose connects naturally into the next. Watching a vinyasa flow sequence is almost like watching a dance, as each inhale and exhale are connected to intentional movement.
The signature sequence of the vinyasa flow yoga style is aptly named the “vinyasa.” You may have heard a yoga teacher say “take a vinyasa,” and this is the short sequence that they are referring to. A vinyasa occurs when the yogi lowers through four limbed staff pose (chatturanga dandasana), and then inhales and opens into a heart opener such as upward facing dog (urdvha mukha svanasana) or cobra pose (bhujangasana). From the heart opener pose, the yogi exhales and presses back into downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana). The vinyasa sequence enables flowing between standing poses. It is traditionally used as the yogi shifts to perform a sequence on the other side of the body. Vinyasas are also an essential part of the sun salutations.
Benefits Of Vinyasa Flow Yoga
The vinyasa flow yoga style is dynamic, energetic, flowing, powerful, and freeing. There are many benefits to the vinyasa flow yoga style.
Vinyasa flow yoga is a very physical style of yoga and requires strength in many muscle groups, thanks to its signature vinyasa sequence. The process of lowering through four limbed staff pose and opening to cobra pose of upward facing dog pose requires great strength in the triceps, shoulder girdle, core, and more.
Similarly to many styles of yoga, vinyasa flow yoga promotes flexibility through poses such as downward facing dog, heart openers, and more. The combination of strengthening and stretching poses is optimal for full body conditioning.
Stress and anxiety relief:
Vinyasa flow yoga is experienced as a combination of a physical workout, mindfulness philosophy, and deep breathing. This has both physiological and psychological effects that are scientifically proven to lead to stress and anxiety relief.
A unique benefit of vinyasa flow yoga, in comparison to other styles of yoga, is its cardiovascular training. Due to its often fast paced flow, vinyasa flow yoga is actually a form of cardio exercise.
There are a variety of other benefits of vinyasa flow yoga. These include reducing depression, chronic pain relief, improving bone density, improving posture, managing and improving metabolism, and many more.
Risks Of Vinyasa Flow Yoga
Despite the aforementioned benefits, there are also dangers to practicing vinyasa flow yoga. Just as many of its benefits are derived from its fast and flowing style, this can also create risk. When a yogi is swiftly flowing through poses, they may be less inclined to focus on proper alignment, and therefore put themselves at higher risk for injury. Similarly, the vinyasa flow yoga style requires repetitive movement, as the yogi continually flows through vinyasas. Repetitive movement can lead to tendon and muscle injuries. In vinyasa flow yoga, the wrists and shoulders and put at particular risk. If you experience wrist or shoulder pain in vinyasa yoga, you should refrain from practicing the short “vinyasas” between sides. Alternatively, you can modify the sequence by lowering to your knees. Work on strengthening and alignment, and only practice vinyasas when you have the time to maintain alignment.
How To Start Practicing Vinyasa Flow Yoga
It can be intimidating to walk into your first vinyasa flow yoga class. Even if you are familiar with other styles of yoga, vinyasa flow yoga is fast-paced and often this can be overwhelming to newcomers. If you are hesitatnt to spend the money or time on attending class at a yoga studio, you may want to start a home yoga practice. Practicing at home can be a great way to familiarize yourself with a new style, or supplement your normal studio classes. Luckily, there is a wide array of options when searching for vinyasa flow classes on Youtube.
Top 20 Vinyasa Flow Classes On Youtube
There are literally thousands of Youtube videos offering vinyasa flow yoga classes. However, you may have to pick and choose between some not-so-good offerings. From amateur video quality, to videos lasting less than five minutes in length, it can be frustrating to find a good vinyasa flow class. To help you in your search, here are the top 20 vinyasa flow yoga classes currently on Youtube.
45 Minute Everyday Vinyasa Flow Yoga Class with Alex Mazerolle
This class is 45 minutes long, making it ideal if you are a little rushed for time but still want to get a full practice in. It is taught by Vancouver-based teacher and Lululemon ambassador, Alex Mazerolle, and is perfect for all levels of practitioner.
60 Minute Yoga Class – Vinyasa 1 Beginner Flow with Floating Yoga School
The full hour-long class is perfect for the beginner yogi who is just starting to explore vinyasa flow yoga. Taught by Helen Kloot of Floating Yoga School, it has over one million views and includes demos from students with a range of abilities.
30-Minute Power Vinyasa Flow with Briohny Smyth
One of the shorter videos on this list, this vinyasa flow yoga sequence is only half an hour but still packs a punch. Taught by superstar yoga teacher and Alo Yoga Ambassador Briohny Smyth, it is a dynamic flow that will get you sweating, even if you only have a lunch break to practice.
1 hour Vinyasa Flow For Flexibility with Yoga with Kassandra
If you are looking to focus on flexibility in your hips, shoulders, and hamstrings with your vinyasa flow yoga sequence, then try this full hour class. It is a powerful flow that is suited best for intermediate practitioners.
60 Min Fun Vinyasa Flow Yoga Class – Erin from Five Parks Yoga
This hour-long yoga class is full of balancing poses, but still incredibly fun and light hearted. It will get you in the mood for a vacation, as it is taught by Erin Sampson, a Five Parks Yoga teacher, during one of their Costa Rica retreats.
40 Minute Yoga Class – Good Morning Flow Beginner Friendly Vinyasa with Floating Yoga School
This yoga class is only 40 minutes, making it a good length if you want to fit in a yoga practice but don’t have time for a full hour. This is a beginner level class that fits in all the best parts of vinyasa flow yoga: stretching, strengthening, twisting, and breathing!
1 hour Intermediate Vinyasa Flow Yoga with Cat Meffan
This hour long yoga class by Youtube yoga teacher Cat Meffan is perfect for intermediate to advanced yogis. It is full of sun salutations and is very dynamic and challenging.
Yoga For Strength – 40 Minute Vinyasa Sequence with Yoga with Adrienne
If you are particularly looking to work on strengthening, then this yoga class is ideally suited to you. It is taught by Youtube star Adrienne, known as Yoga with Adrienne, and is designed to strengthen and tone.
45-Minute Power Vinyasa Flow With Briohny Smyth
This yoga class taught by Briohny Smyth is challenging, even though it is only 45 minutes. It is full of core work, balancing poses, and even some twists.
30-Minute Power Yoga Flow For Tight Abs and a Toned Butt with Jess Taras
If you are approaching yoga with physical goals, that is okay too. This short sequence by Jess Taras of Y7 Yoga is designed to work on toning the abs and butt.
50-Minute Strong Beginners Vinyasa Yoga Class with Leigha Butler
Maybe you are familiar with yoga, but are newer to the vinyasa flow yoga style. If so, this class could be the perfect fit for you. Taught by yoga teacher Liegha Butler, it is geared toward beginners who already have a base strength level.
Vinyasa Yoga Traditional Class in Mysore India – One hour Full Class with Yogi Trupta
As the most traditional yoga class on this list, this hour long video is very special. It is a video of a live yoga class from the Mysore Yoga Teacher Training Institute. Practicing from home with this video, which includes traditional Sanskrit chanting alongside a vinyasa flow, will make you feel like you are practicing alongside the other students in Mysore, India.
Short, Sweet and Sweaty Power Vinyasa Flow – Alba with Yogi Approved
Don’t have a lot of time, but still want to get your sweat on? Try this class from yoga teacher Alba with Yogi Approved, which only lasts just over 20 minutes, but will get your heart rate up for sure.
40 Minutes – Vinyasa Flow Yoga Class with Lizette Pompa Yoga
This classic vinyasa flow yoga class is filled with a variety of poses, from a gentle wrist warm up, to hip openers, energizing standing poses, and more. At only 40 minutes, it can easily fit in your busy schedule.
Creative Vinyasa Flow with Flamingo Yoga Class – Erina with Five Parks Yoga
One of the best aspects of vinyasa flow yoga is its spontaneous and creative style. With this class from Five Parks Yoga, you can try a particularly creative flow and be introduced to poses you may not have practiced before.
30 Minute Vinyasa flow class with Lizette Pompa Yoga
At only half an hour, this short vinyasa flow yoga class can be a nice break from a busy day. Even though it is short, it still covers all major muscle groups and every aspect a vinyasa class should have: sun salutation warm ups, a flowing sequence, and restorative poses.
Wild Thing to Wheel 60 Minute Vinyasa Yoga Class Advanced Intermediate Arm Balances with Leigha Butler
This hour long class is one of the most advanced on this list. It is geared toward intermediate to advanced yogis who are already familiar with the vinyasa style, and ready to try poses such as wheel pose (urdvha danurasana) and arm balances, and feel safe doing so in a home yoga practice.
Yoga Class with Dagmar Vinyasa Flow
Ready for a relaxing vinyasa flow class? Just because vinyasa flow yoga is dynamic and flowing doesn’t mean it can’t also be restorative. This yoga class video, set on a beach with the calming voice over of a yoga teacher, has over one million views. It is a great video for a beginner or intermediate yogi looking for a calming class.
Blissful Yoga Flow One Yoga Class To Rule Them All with Boho Beautiful
This yoga class is gentle, calming, and emphasizes stillness. It is highly stylized, and unlike other Youtube yoga classes that just film a normal studio class, this video is created to be beautiful as a video in its own rite. With relaxing background music and flowing transitions, it will cultivate a sense of stillness and bliss.
Energising and Dynamic 90 Min Vinyasa Flow Yoga Class with Emily Katsuno Yoga
This yoga class, taught by yoga teacher Emily Katsuno, is the longest on this list, at an hour and a half. If you have the time to devote to this practice, however, it thoroughly explores each stage of a vinyasa flow yoga sequence, offering space for stillness, relaxation, and flowing movement.
Now that you are familiar with the vinyasa flow yoga style, its benefits, and even its risks, are you ready to try it yourself? Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced yogi who is looking to expand their practice, these 20 videos will have something to offer you.