There are many different styles of yoga. I have tried Hatha yoga, Bikram yoga, Kundalini yoga, Iyengar yoga, Yin yoga and Dru yoga among others. At the moment I am in love with Vinyasa yoga. Vinyasa yoga is also called Flow yoga, since the poses run together in a smooth way, like a dance. The breath is an essential part during this dance, since the series of movements are synchronized with the breath. Generally speaking, upward movement correlate with inhalations of the breath, and downward movements with exhalations. When I was living in the Netherlands I practiced African dance once a week and I went out dancing regularly. Since I have arrived in New Zealand, my dance experiences have been reduced to some rare moments on a party or a wedding. Surprisingly, I have not been missing the dancing as much as I thought I would. The practice of Vinyasa yoga seems to fulfill my dance needs.
Vinyasa yoga has evolved from Ashtanga yoga over time. There are now many different styles of Vinyasa or Flow yoga. Vinyasa can be translated from Sanskrit into ‘connection’ referring to a connection between movement and breath. Another translation can be ‘variations within parameters’. A sun salutation sequence is a perfect example of a Vinyasa dance, because each movement in the series is done on an inhalation or an exhalation. Basically, any sequence of flowing from asana to asana can be called a Vinyasa dance. During a Vinyasa yoga practice you can expect a lot of variety; one class is focused on backbends and during another class you spend time practicing arm balances. I love this diversity; no class is the same and this makes my mind go quiet. If I would practice the same postures over and over again, I would get bored easily and my mind would wander off. Variety is helpful in preventing injuries, since it keeps you from doing repetitive movements. There is a reasonable amount of freedom within this yoga style which allows teachers to personalize their classes. The classes are relaxed and unpredictable and supportive for persons with an overactive mind like mine. Vinyasa yoga not only brings my mind at ease, it also increases my strength, endurance and flexibility.
It is quite common for yoga teachers to have a background in (professional) dancing. This could be a reason that nowadays you can find different styles mixing yoga & dance together, such as: Yoga dance, flow dance, Nia yoga/dance or Afro flow yoga. These styles are blending together the benefits of yoga and dance and are providing you with ways to express yourself through movement and to discover your true self. Be inspired, move & dance!