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Vinyasa has never been so misunderstood

The most popular form of yoga these days is Vinyasa yoga. But it is a sad truth that it has been totally misunderstood.

I have been teaching Yoga for the past 8 years and have been practicing for more than 13 years now. I have had the privilege of learning from some of the most authentic teachers in India, who are so pure in their teaching methods and so true to the subject they teach. They not only teach, but they live it. I have learned vinyasa system of yoga from one of the teacher, who has studied under Sri.Krishnamacharya for over 30 years.

The word Vinyasa means to link. In other words to arrange in certain manner. This word vinyasa is not only used in yoga but also in music, dance and even poetry. In order for music to sound pleasing to the ears, the notes are arranged in such a manner so that there is a smooth transition from one note to another. So is for dance. One movement is linked with another movement to make it look graceful. When it comes to yoga however, it is misunderstood as movements. Vinyasa is a system of moving in sync with the breath, but that doesn't mean one should keep moving. Of course, every breath has a movement and every movement has a breath.

The best way to put it when it comes to yoga is to arrange postures in scientific manner, understanding how the energy moves, so that the objective of the days practice is achieved. In order for one to get any benefit from the yoga posture is to stay for given period of time, so that the energy also moves to particular parts of the body and to stimulate the intellect. And this is going to take time. It doesn't work when body is constantly on the move.

The way it is taught these days is more about creative expression of a teacher and sad to say, feed their own ego in coming up with creative postures and movements. This includes coming up with new postures which has no name or any references to how and where the energy is moving. In this instagram culture everyone wants to come up with new pose, just because it looks good. Vinyasa is not about coming up with as many postures as possible in one hour session. But clearly to set an intention and tailor a class so that the objective of the session is achieved. Which means to stay in the posture for certain period of time (at least 5 breaths). Moving from one posture to another constantly without holding for few breath will eventually lead to agitation in the mind because the mind is not allowed to settle in one place. This obviously is not the purpose of practicing yoga. It becomes like any other form of exercise, which yoga is not. I don't blame common people for this misunderstanding. It is the teacher's responsibility to understand the subject correctly and teach without losing the authenticity of yoga. It is sad that even teacher training is happening with this misunderstanding. Teachers for once can drop their ego and follow the books. There are plenty of other ways to express oneself. Yoga when it is pure has the greatest potential. Yoga is like a sacred river, one should keep it pure without poisoning it with ones ego.


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