Introduction to vinyasa krama yoga

This is the first of a series of articles in which I will try to get close to the vinyasa krama yoga method. And I have the honour to do so from the pages of Yoga in network, which has kindly opened up the doors of this great magazine. Writes Noelia Insa.

By what vinyasa krama yoga?

The reasons that lead me to want to talk to you about this style of yoga are several.

In the first place because it is where I practice and taught for three years and I think that it is the best I know. After having tried many styles, for more than twenty years of practice, I met the vinyasa krama of the hand of my teacher and friend Anthony Grim Hall, in 2014. When I experienced for the first time such long breaths and deep, that slow deliberate movements, that intensity that characterizes this style, that inner silence, I fell in love immediately. Later, in 2016, I was lucky to make the training of teachers with master Ramaswami, in Madrid. And I've recently been studying with one of his most outstanding disciples, Steve Brandon, in the English town of Wells.

But not only that, also I find that the vinyasa krama is an approach very faithful to the philosophy of yoga as it emanates from the Yoga Sutra Patanjali. And that, in the times in which we live, with so many pseudoyogas trying to divide up the market, it is very comforting.

In addition, it's a method very suitable for practice at home. Once you've learned the basics with a professor or teacher certification, you can perfectly practice alone, at home, since it is very systematic and is very well structured.

What is vinyasa krama yoga?

In his book The complete works on Vinyasa Yoga, the master Srivatsa Ramaswami It is defined with the following words:

Vinyasa Krama Yoga is an ancient practice of physical and spiritual development. It's a systematic method of study, practice, teaching and adaptation to yoga. (…) Each of the important postures (asanas) is practiced with different vinyasas (variations and movements) very prepared. Each variation is linked to the next through a succession of specific transition movements, synchronized by breath. The mind follows carefully the slow, controlled and gentle yoga ujjayi breathing; and the union of the body and the mind takes place with the Act of respiration as harness.

The Sanskrit word 'vinyasa'is composed of the prefix'VI'which means'variation', and the suffix 'Nyasa', which means 'within recommended parameters'. In other words, that the method vinyasa It involves a series of movements, always following a few sequences and observing the principles established.


This method was already outlined by T. Krishnamacharyacurrently considered to be the father of modern yoga, in his work Yoga Makaranda.

In Yoga Makaranda, Krishnamacharya says that a correct method of vinyasa It is essential to receive all the benefits of yoga practice:

Since time immemorial, the Vedic syllables (...) are sung with correct notes (acute, serious and stockings). Also, the sruti (pitch) and the laya (rhythm) govern the Indian classical music. The Sanskrit classical poetry follows the strict standards of the chandas (metrics), yati (caesura) and prasa (compilation). In addition, in the cult of the mantra, the nyasas (normally the allocation of different body parts to various deities, mantras and gestures)-as nyasa or Kala the tattoos nyasa - are an integral part. Similarly, yogasana (yoga postures), pranayama (breathing exercises of yoga) and mudras (seals, locks, gestures) have practiced with vinyasas since time immemorial.

Everyone knows that any activity that is not done according to proper procedures (niyama) does not provide the desired results. In this case, almost can say that this would be the case of noble practitioners of yoga, Vedic chants or mantra meditations. Because of a bad Association, people who are only interested in material benefits, always practice yoga and other disciplines, but not achieved tangible results. I would say that there are two reasons for leading to do this:

  1. They do not follow the disciplines of the vinyasa and other things mentioned in the texts.
  2. Their teachers do not show the nuances of the system when they teach their students.

As music without (sriti) tone and rhythm (laya) appropriate it will not bring happiness, the practice of yogasana without observation of the vinyasas will not bring health.This being the case, what I can tell about a long life, strength and other benefits?

However, and as Ramaswami, in Yoga Makaranda indicates the vinyasas appear only in some sequences, While crucial sirsasana and sarvangasana positions appear without any vinyasa.

Ramaswami studied for 30 years with Krishnamacharya, and during this time he learned thoroughly all sequences which subsequently collects in The complete works of the Vinyasa Krama. In this passage, Ramaswami tells us how he came to know the entire full vinyasa krama at the hands of his guru:

Then - after twenty years of studying with my guru - was teaching Yoga in Kalakshetra, a well known in the India School of Arts, students were young, in his adolescence and early in their twenties. They were very talented, and a stimulant for teaching group. (…) In six months I realized that had been taught practically everything he had learned, about 200 to 300 vinyasas and several breathing exercises! So I went back to my teacher and asked him: "anything else that can teach?" I had read in his book Yoga Makaraooa he had learned about 700 asanas. With great enthusiasm, he began to teach me more vinyasas and asanas. "Do you have taught this asana, vinyasa this?", he asked. For a long period after, taught me more and more vinyasas. I liked to play them, then go and teach them in the class. It was wonderful to learn and teach at the same time. In the course of the next few years I learned about 700 vinyasas in some ten large sequences. This formed the basis of my Book The work full of the Vinyasa Krama.

Vinyasa Krama Yoga basics

-Firmness and comfort

In the Yoga Sutra Patanjali (2.46) establishes that the practice of asana should be in accordance with the principles of firmness)sthira) and comfort)sukha). The practitioner should be able to maintain posture with firmness, and at the same time be able to find joy and relaxation in the asana.

-Breathing soft and prolonged

The following sutra says (2.47) perfection in the posture is achieved by soft and deep breathing (sithila prayatna). In The complete works of Vinyasa Yoga, Ramaswami establishes that

to practice yoga correctly, one not must breathe very strong. (…) Neither the breathing rate and heart should increase during the practice of yoga. Our normal breathing rate is between fifteen and twenty breaths per minute. As the movements are slow in the vinyasa yoga, one has to also slow down your own breathing rate. There inspired by five seconds during an expansion move - as a stretch for arms or legs or bending the body backwards - and breathe out slowly when it is folded the body forward, turns on, the knees are bent or locks or similar body keys are made.

In Yoga for the three stages of life, Ramaswami Remember that according to his master, KrishnamacharyaIt is obligatory to stop the practice and rest when breathing ceases to be soft.

Shortness of breath is associated with a fragmented mind and therefore breathing synchronized, soft and long (both inhalation and exhalation) is the condition sine qua non for the practice of asana in vinyasakrama.

In Yoga beneath the surface, Ramaswami establishes a very illustrative metaphor about how breathing in yoga must be:

During inhalation (breathing) should be nilothphala nalvath, as smooth as drinking water through the stalk of a lily. Just like when you drink water by a straw flow is uniform, so it should be the air flow. The exhalation should be like taila dharavath, or the flow of oil to be poured. When oil is poured, it has an even flow, not like water, which is viscous.

Recommended breathing is known as ujjayi. Ujjayi breathing should be or sound because it facilitates the control of breathing.

Concentration on the breath and breath synchronized movement

The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali they talk about the need to fix the mind during the practical)samapatti). Vinyasa Krama, the practitioner should focus on your breathing, and try this be synchronized at all times to the movement.

-Vinyasa or sequencing

As is clear from the text of Yoga Makaranda cited above, Krishnamacharya, the vinyasa or sequencing of movements, it was essential to the practice of asana. Follow established sequences allows us to practice with harmony, order, efficiency e intelligenceas well as follow a natural progression, gradually raising the level of difficulty.

Not respect the sequences and vinyasas will do that not only practice is not useful, but it may even cause damage and disease.

He says Ramaswami than during the thirty years he studied with her teacher, not once saw him teach practicing asanas without vinyasas and coordinated breathing to accompany the movements.


Ramaswami talking about the contrapostura in Yoga for the three stages of life, with these words:

As the medicines, the yogasanas have beneficial effects, but they may also have some minor side effects, which are essentially physical. To counter them, each position has a contrapostura or a contraposturas to aydan sequence to preserve the effects of the asana main and counteract any undesirable aspect.

-Dynamism and statism

In Vinyasa Krama, the asanas can be practiced dynamically, using repetitive motions to get in and out of the position. But there are also some asanas that are maintained for long periods of time. During the formation of teachers with Ramaswami, we used to keep sarvangasana, sirsasana, paschimottanasana and maha mudra for many minutes.

In the Practical manual of Yoga Vinyasa Krama, Steve Brandon says that

From a point of view energy and subtle, dynamic aspect of asana mobilizes prana, while the static appearance directs it and concentrates.

Adaptation and modification

One of the essential aspects of the Vinyasa Krama is that it is designed to be adapted and modified according to the personal circumstances of the practitioner in every moment of his life.

There is a passage of a Newsletter de el maestro Ramaswami entitled The practice of Yoga Vinyasa Kramawhere perfectly illustrate these characteristics of the Vinyasa Krama:

When my teacher was receiving a person middle-aged or ninety-year-old with a special condition like scoliosis, he designed a program tailored to your personal needs. Almost all who came to him had a developed routine that is not provided to anyone more.

(…) One reason why nowadays people look for a definitive routine, is because most popular vinyasa systems have a small number of regulated sequences, that are taught over and over again to almost all students. So there is the mentality that there should be a rigid sequence that is applicable to all, but this is not the way in which we learned yoga from my teacher. First, Professor should learn the whole system and then apply it to each person according to their needschoosing and selecting those sequences of vinysas, pranayama and practices of meditation, dietary requirements etc. The question we must answer is what you want / need the practitioner and how the routine of yoga should be designed so that would contribute it the required benefits? Vinyasa krama is like a supermarket of yoga, in which each puts in the cart you need.

And another also very enlightening passage on the subject, we found it in Yoga for the three stages of lifeWhen Ramaswami It describes how was the practice of his family under the tutelage of Krishnamacharya:

He used to teach us different asanas to each one of us at the same time: postures asanas and reversed for me, the position of the desk for my mother, a long period in pascimatanasana for my brother, and exquisite vinyasas rear Flex as ustrasana for my little sister.

Inclusion of pranayama and meditation practice

Unlike other styles of yoga of fashion today, the vinyasa krama does not forget the raja yoga basics, such as pranayama and meditation.

In the Newsletter more mentioned above, Ramaswami says:

The term vinyasa krama includes not only asana, but also other aspects of yoga like pranayama, meditation, etc. It's a progression of different aspects of yoga. (…) Our practitioner must develop together with the teacher, the design of a smart and adapted yoga practice. Reduce vinyasa krama a standard routine, as it is done with other contemporary systems of vinyasa, and place it in a straitjacket, is not recommended.

I think that with what I have told you today you can get an idea of what style of yoga vinyasa krama, where and what are its fundamental principles. The coming week I will tell you how a session of vinyasa krama is structured, and why this style is so suitable for practice at home.

Noelia Insa She is Professor of yoga, MOM, blogger and entrepreneur digital. It helps people to find the balance and serenity through yoga.

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By • May 18, 2017 • section: Signatures