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What does it mean to “take a vinyasa”?

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

Whatever stage you’re at in your yoga journey, the prospect of “taking a vinyasa”

may have puzzled you at some point (maybe it still does!).

Have you ever heard your yoga teacher invite you to “take a vinyasa” and been

unsure what it means, whether you should, or how on earth to do it?

We’re all about breaking down yoga concepts, postures, and terminology to make all

the incredible benefits of yoga available to all, so without further ado, read on for

your essential guide to “taking a vinyasa”.

What does the word vinyasa mean in yoga?

Literally, the word vinyasa comes from two Sanskrit words: vi – “in a special way”,

and nyasa – “to place”.

So, vinyasa yoga is a type of yoga where you place your body in postures

that are mindful and purposeful for your mental and physical wellbeing.

Vinyasa yoga is about connecting your breath to your movement in a constant flow

of postures. It can be slightly faster and more creative than other forms of yoga and it’s what we love to practice at Vanessa Flow Yoga Studio.

Therefore, every movement we do in a flow session is technically classed as

vinyasa, but the process of “taking a vinyasa” usually refers to a particular sequence

of movements taken during your practice.

What is taking a vinyasa?

Taking a vinyasa involves moving through three postures:

  1. Plank

  2. Chaturanga

  3. Upward-facing dog (or cobra)

How do I take a vinyasa?

On a basic level, taking a vinyasa sees you move from a downward-facing dog or a

standing posture down to the ground and back up (sun salutations), flowing through the three postures above and using your breath to link and guide you in each pose.

Here’s how to take a vinyasa:

  1. Move down into a plank pose (usually from a downward-facing dog)

  2. Go into “chaturanga”, where you move downwards to your mat with elbows tucked in and your body parallel with the ground

  3. Flow from here into an upward-facing dog or cobra

  4. Push back through table-top position or roll over your toes to lift back upwards into downward-facing dog

In terms of your breath, you’re aiming to:

  1. Inhale as you move into plank

  2. Exhale as you go into your chaturanga

  3. Inhale into cobra or up-dog

  4. Exhale back into your downward-facing dog.

If you don’t get this right the first time, don’t worry! It takes a lot of strength, technique, practice and patience.

Go at your own pace and practice finding your flow in stages.

We discuss many ways to modify it during our classes, one option and the main one we would recommend is keeping the knees down as you "take your vinyasa".

Is taking a vinyasa optional?


If you don’t feel like taking a vinyasa or maybe you have a sensitive shoulder feel free to move into child’s pose or go straight

into downward-facing dog.

You may feel too fatigued to keep flowing or want to catch your breath for a moment. If

that’s the case, give yourself permission to take one of the options your yoga teacher

offers as an alternative to taking a vinyasa.

The most important thing is to listen to your body, ignore what those around you are

doing, and concentrate on what feels right for you.

Why do we take a vinyasa?

Taking a vinyasa is a lovely way of moving your body with breath, to build strength

and stamina. Plus, it's a great transition from working on one particular side before moving to the other side.

You’ll often take a vinyasa midway through a sequence, helping your

mind and body process the movements you’ve already done and prepare for the

next side or sequence of postures.

Where can I practice vinyasa yoga in the Ribble Valley?

Our Clitheroe yoga studio offers a range of vinyasa yoga classes, ranging from

gentle flows to more active sequences.

There’s a class to suit everyone, barre, Pilates, yin, and pregnancy yoga on offer, plus special events like sound baths, sister circles, and workshops.

For more information, view our class timetable here!

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