What in the World of Yoga does “VINYASA” mean?

Vinyasa Yoga

You might find the word Vinyasa to be one of two things – very appealing and very confusing.

You might even find that the word is both appealing and confusing at the same time!

I find that the pronunciation is appealing in that it rolls gracefully on the tongue, “Nya,” with a long and airy finish,”hSa.”


However, Vinyasa carries multiple meanings so you do find it spoken, and taught in various contexts… and, as I was once young Yogini, I know it can be confusing for an aspiring Yogi’s practice!









Now I will shed some defining light on what Vinyasa means.



In my Behind-the-Scenes yoga program, we are beginning a Practice Series called ROCK THE CLOCK. Essentially, it is a Vinyasa practice in all four definitions of the word – explained below.

Vinyasa can mean – One or All of – the following 4 things:

#1 – Vinyasa is Movement Linked with Breath

Vinyasa may be a composed range of movement within one pose.

For example – when in Tree Pose, open your arms like you are giving a hug (with an inhalation), then close your hands to your heart (with an exhalation).

This Composed Range of Movement is known as a Vinyasa.

#2 – Vinyasa is a Yoga class of Movement sequenced with Breath.

This type of class is often called Vinyasa Flow.

Each of the many poses practiced in this type of class is sequenced (linked together) in a dance-like concert of movement and breath.

#3 – Vinyasa is a connection of 4 specific poses.

These poses are repeated throughout Sun Salutations and in between standing pose sequences.

They are (exhale) Downward Dog + (inhale) Plank + (exhale) Chaturanga + (inhale) Cobra or Upward Dog.

The connection of these 4 poses are known as a Vinyasa.

#4 – Vinyasa is an intentional approach to reach your personal yoga goals.

Vinyasa is a larger perspective of direction, orientation, and coordination to achieve a goal.

We can set an intention to reach a certain “peak pose” in our practice, to achieve a healing feeling, or to gain a certain clarity.

Lewis Carroll wrote, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do.” In response, Vinyasa beings the ability to create a visionary intention and navigate a path in the direction of our desires.

Can you dig it?

Leave me a comment below if you love Lewis Carroll’s quote from Alice in Wonderland!!!

(I do…)

4 Replies to “What in the World of Yoga does “VINYASA” mean?”

  1. Love this! Especially #4, which goes beyond the surface meaning of the word and made me pause and ponder the ways in which we take our yoga off the mat and into the world. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  2. Amazingly beautiful. I started yoga as a teen and am passing it on to my teen as a stress reliever. I am so happy to have found your videos and your blog, Thank you. Mindfulness.

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