plank pose

What is a Vinyasa?

Clara Hayes

Have you ever heard a yoga instructor cue “Now move through your vinyasa”? And have you ever been one of the many folks on the mat that takes a glance around the room to try and find out what on earth that means? Not to worry! You’re about to find out! If you’ve heard this phrase, it’s likely you’re in a Flow class here at Soul Strong. Flow classes are sometimes called Vinyasa classes. Depending on the studio you’re visiting, it may be called one or the other or even combined as “Vinyasa Flow.” Vinyasa simply refers to the linking of breath and movement. Flow is a newer term to describe this traditional practice. Currently, this style of yoga is the most popularly attended and most widely offered amongst studios in general. In Flow classes, we link breath with movement in a deliberate sequence that “flows” together. This kind of rhythm more easily allows modern-day practitioners to tap into a moving meditation.

sun salutation A

But, if vinyasa refers to the linking of breath and movement, then aren’t all movements in a Flow class vinyasas? Technically, yes! However, when cueing a vinyasa, instructors are actually referring to the part of a Sun Salutation that transitions you from the top of your mat, to Downward Facing Dog.

Let’s break it down further: a Sun Salutation is composed of the following poses: Mountain Pose, Upward Salute, Forward Fold, Half-Way Lift, Chaturanga Dandasana, Upward Facing Dog, and Downward Facing Dog.

…Is that still gibberish? Take a look at this graphic of a Sun Salutation below for support!

Back to this phrase, “Now move through your vinyasa.” The vinyasa itself is the Chaturanga (half-push up), to Upward Facing Dog (or another backbend of choice!), to Downward Facing Dog. This series of postures is used often throughout class to link different poses together. This smooth linking together of postures is how you find your flow. So, now you know! When an instructor cues a vinyasa, they’re truly just speaking about those three postures, and linking them with your breath. Want to attend a Flow class but vinyasas aren’t your style? You can always step back to a Downward Facing Dog instead, or find your own fun transition!

Want to learn more about the ins and outs of this practice? Check out our next Beginners Series starting Mondays October 21st-November 11th from 10:00-11:15am. Sign up HERE!

Want to get a weeknight practice going? Check out our Beginners Flow classes every Monday and Wednesday night at 6:15PM at the Soul Strong Studio (107 S Lewis St). View our class schedule HERE.

Learn more about vinyasa through the following links!

Ready to deepen your practice? It might be time for Yoga Teacher Training! Take a look at Soul Strong Yoga’s online and self-paced Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Training at You’ll become a 200 hour certified yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance with a specialization in vinyasa yoga for all people.