Although there are many different types of yoga, Flow Yoga is by far one of the most popular.
It is characterized by the rhythm of the breath, so the movements can be slow or dynamic and challenging depending on the class.
Therefore, Flow Yoga can generally be defined as a yoga class that incorporates energetic movement through a series of asanas (yoga postures), through which the student experiences a sense of fluid physical movement.
The movement of these postures is combined with the breath, creating an even greater sense of flow, strength, ease and release of tension.
Because Flow Yoga is not limited to any one lineage or style, the background of an individual teacher will give each class a specific structure and feel.
For example, if a teacher is experienced in Iyengar, the flow sequence may have static interruptions where the teacher focuses on an individual pose to adjust the alignment.
You can see, then, that teachers interested in many different styles can give a class that resembles a unique collage of their personal interests in yoga and movement.
In addition, a teacher who is teaching Flow Yoga will have full authority over the sequence of the postures. Unless a teacher specifically works from the sequence of a particular style, he or she can have a great creative influence on your sequence.
So, Flow Yoga refers to a good mix of relaxation, breathing and energizing movement; but you will also get what the teacher has planned for that day.
This is another reason why getting to know your teacher can be very helpful. When you know the personality of your teacher and the pace at which they tend to take classes, you will know more or less what to expect.
Benefits of Flow Yoga
Flow Yoga, besides being fun to practice, also brings several benefits to its practitioners, among which are
– Cardiovascular Health: A Flow Yoga class is an excellent cardiovascular exercise, because it is often fast-paced. Moving with your breath increases your heart rate and generates heat.
– Range of Motion: The variety of movement in a Flow Yoga session means that you will often work on your whole body throughout the class, and expand your range of motion by moving in ways that you normally would not. This will help you avoid injuries in the future that could happen if you always move the same way.
Strengthening: A constant practice of Yoga Flow can help you develop muscles
– Connect with your breath: Your breath has a lot of power over your well-being. If you are shocked or tense, you hold your breath and automatically send a signal to the brain that you are uncomfortable, which in turn causes the brain to produce adrenaline and cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) to help you move forward.
Practicing connecting to breathing and breathing through pain and discomfort can be a very powerful tool in overcoming physical and mental problems.
– or throughout your body. This form of yoga will often put your body to work integrally, leading to the development of balanced and functional strength.
– Stress Relief: By practicing Flow Yoga you will be in for a moving meditation session.
The constant movement and rhythmic motion will help calm the mind and allow you to focus inward.
In this way, it helps you connect your body and mind, calm your nervous system, and can contribute to the relief of stress and anxiety.
In Flow Yoga fast is not necessarily better
Often, when you flow quickly through movements that your body has performed countless times before, your muscle memory is activated and you return to the old habits of postures that you believe to be correct.
It is important in Flow Yoga (as in any other form of yoga) that you take the time and attention to properly align the postures within your own personal physique.
The trick is to learn to move with integrity as you begin to accelerate your flow.
However, sometimes the practice of slowing down is exactly what you need.
Sometimes moving with care and attention is more beneficial to your practice than moving with speed.
Also, regardless of how fast you practice your flow, alignment definitely matters.
As imperative as it is to maintain proper form and alignment in static poses to keep your body safe, it is equally important to maintain that integrity when flowing through poses dynamically.
In Flow Yoga people tend to move at a faster pace than other forms of yoga, but moving faster doesn’t mean you can move without thinking.
After all, it is a meditation in motion, so inattention has no place in your yoga practice.
Creatively Different Classes Every Time
The beauty of Flow Yoga is the creativity that can be derived from this practice. There is no ‘set’ sequence, no predetermined rules or guidelines. There is only the practitioner and his practice.
Sometimes you will flow furiously with the music and sometimes you will move slowly with the silence. The only constant throughout the practice is the breath, but everything else changes. One day you may be opening your heart while the next day you are turning your world upside down: the possibilities are endless.
It can be a powerful training
Despite its worldwide popularity, many people still believe that yoga is just stretching. While some schools are characterized by slow movements and deep stretching, Flow Yoga has the potential to be extremely vigorous.
It is almost a guarantee that if you show up for a Flow class, you will work hard and definitely start sweating. It can be a powerful form of exercise that increases strength while stretching deep into the muscles.
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