Vinyasa Krama: The Building Blocks of Yoga and Life

by Heather Earl

Learn to take your practice deeper through the Vinyasa Krama method. These 4 class series will help you focus on building your practice in a systematic, mindful way and to incorporate more challenging postures into your practice. You will learn to use your unique building blocks to move into “peak” postures in an intelligent, systematic way for both the physical and emotional body. This series will help prepare the body and mind to open and expand into places that are new and challenging in a fun, Vinyasa format.

Vinyasa Krama: The Building Blocks of Yoga and Life

The modern yoga world seems to be inundated with beautiful pictures of models showing “advanced” physical postures. The Internet is full of scantily clad images of people in seemingly impossible poses. While these are artful and sometimes inspirational, what we don’t see is the work and intention it takes to move into these postures. It is a perilous course for yoga students who try to replicate these anatomical feats without honoring both the physical and intuitive steps that must be taken to achieve them. These steps are the building blocks of our practice. When students are first starting their yoga journey, an “advanced” posture might be cobra (Bhujangasana) but as our journey progresses we build strength and stamina, we open the heart and mind and this pose progresses physically and mindfully into upward-facing dog (Urdhva Mukah Svanasana). This intention of progression through steps is Krama, literally meaning “stages”. It is a step-by-step process of how one builds, in gradual stages toward a goal. This method is the foundation of many yoga traditions practiced in the West today. It was utilized by Sri T. Krishnamacharya and coined Vinyasa Krama. It is the foundation in which Ashtanga is practiced and taught. It not only guides our yoga practice but also is an evolutionary insight into our daily lives.

In nature, events unfold, like the seed into a plant being nourished along the way; the building of a storm that gradually gathers force by combining elements as it moves. The building blocks and stepping-stones we travel each day shape our lives and define who we arebecoming. We build on our experiences, our interactions and our thought process to grow and progress into a different, more experienced, wiser version of ourselves. Our yoga practice is the same. It is not a random, scattering array of unlinked movement. It is a systematic, intentional building of the physical and emotional body.

In Krishnamacharya’s method, these movements are connected by Vinyasa-the principle of linking movement with breath. The breath is the conscious connection to the physical steps of the practice. When Vinyasa Krama guides our practice we are able to cultivate a pathway of evolution on both a physical and emotional level and to move systematically into more challenging postures by building both the physical and intentional elements of our practice.

As in life, our practice should not be stagnate. It should grow with us, challenge us and mirror our innate nature to strive for our best selves, both physically and emotionally.

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