The term “Vinyasa” can be broken down into two Sanskrit root words:
Vi means “in a special way”
Nyasa means “to place”
In conjunction with the word krama which means steps or stages, Vinyasa Krama refers to a step by step process for reaching a goal. Vinyasa Flow Yoga refers to the smooth linking of postures that are synchronized with the breath. Sun salutations are a good example of this beautiful, rhythmic joining of posture and breath into a fluid, moving meditation. Vinyasa Flow Yoga incorporates the idea of vinyasa krama for getting into a challenging pose that requires a fair bit of warming up or understanding. This has nothing to do with pose worshipping and “the final expression of a pose” as teachers often say. Rather, it’s about manifesting a state of mindfulness to move through a process without distraction and with great attention and honesty.
The whole journey of getting from one place to another is the practice, not whether we get into advanced postures or not. Watching the ego, moving with integrity and compassion-these are the tools that allow us to discover what’s underneath this bodily existence, something far greater than a deep backbend or inversion.
While “to place in a special way” suggests an awareness in every move we make on the mat, the greater teaching of vinyasa krama is about bringing awareness to our intentions of everything we do, moment to moment and day today. Whether as a first-time mother with her newborn or working towards a promotion in your job, or getting a college degree- there is a certain amount of focus, steadiness, and consistency that needs to happen to have results and accomplishments. Asana is but one vehicle to discover our mental discipline.