Vinyasa Krama is the Sanskrit term for a step-by-step progression to a goal. Since we are talking about physical yoga practice, the goal is a complex or advanced asana (posture). We can think of this as the “goal pose” and it usually involves warming up and preparing specific muscles and breathing to achieve them and sustain them.
Breaking down the words
Vinyasa is the principle of synchronizing movement with the breath.
Krama means steps or stages.
You can also say that with Vinyasa Krama you build onto something, or grow into something. We are trying to prepare the body within certain easier poses to move into the more advanced or complex “goal pose”.
Application in a yoga class
In a vinyasa class, we use the concept of Vinyasa Krama to sequence the class. The more experienced the teacher, the more creative the sequencing might become. I usually build a class sequence based on a theme (Bhavana). For example, maybe this class has a broad theme of opening and energizing. I would concentrate on back bending asana, but it would also include forward bends (to counter the back bend) as well as twists and side bends. For example, let’s build a class with a peak pose of Upward Bow or Wheel/Urdhva Dhanurasana. All of our muscles need preparation for this complex pose.
How do I build my class?
I usually start with easier postures progressing to more complex (especially if it is an open level class). Some poses to start with are Bhujangasana (Cobra), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog), then more complex like Ustrasana (Camel pose) and Dvi Pada Pittam (Bridge pose) and then I build to Urdhva Dhanurasana which is the goal pose, the final destination. The result is usually a well-balanced class where beginners can explore and play with more complex postures and advanced practitioners feel ready to fully commit to the experience of the goal pose.
This blog was created by Anupam Raman, RYT 200 who takes a personal and individualized approach to teaching yoga, influenced by her own experience as a practitioner of Vinyasa and Ashtanga Yoga. She has been practicing since she was 11 years old and has spent time in India soaking up the philosophy. The basis of her teaching philosophy is that yoga is a lifestyle and can benefit everyone. She is committed to being intuitive, compassionate, and non-judgmental in her teaching. She is currently an instructor at LeadingYoga.com teaching online yoga classes and has written numerous blogs including Pratiloma Ujjayi and Cooling Breathing for Hot Days.
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