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Vinyasa Krama

In Sanskrit, the term Krama means "the process" or “succession." It refers to the succession of changes that occurs from moment to moment. The word vinyasa means "a joining or linking mechanism." It also means ""to place in a conscious way." Vinyasa krama is an asana practice that flows with the breath and takes a sequential approach in order to achieve a specific goal or intention. Often, this type of yoga is referred to simply as vinyasa, or flow yoga.

When broken down,

the two words in the Sanskrit term vinyasa krama define the process of the practice. Vinyasa comes from two root words: vi, meaning “order,” and nyasa, meaning “placement." Thus, vinyasa refers to the practice of synchronizing breath with movement. Each movement in the vinyasa krama sequence is linked to an inhalation or an exhalation. Krama denotes the stages or steps within the sequence and incorporates the principle of progression over time.

In vinyasa krama each asana unfolds into the next -- much the same way that events in the world develop and gradually unfold. Vinyasa krama practice is beneficial because it helps us to align ourselves with the flowing and evolving nature of the universe, rather than seeing each asana as a separate event that is disconnected from the rest of the practice. Over time, we may also begin to see our lives in much the same way.

In their book Jivamukti Yoga: Practices for Liberating Body and Soul, Sharon Gannon and David Life write, "When you practice a sequence of asanas, you link them with conscious breathing. The real vinyasa, or link, however, is the intention with which you practice the asanas. It is the intention that links the postures with consciousness instead of unconsciousness. The breath is merely a metaphor for intention. If your intention is to practice asana to realize the Self, every breath you take will help break down your sense of separation from others. You will realize that the atmosphere is filled with atoms of air that once filled the lungs of everyone who ever lived. We are breathing each other. From this realization, it's not hard to leap to the realization that we are all sharing consciousness in the same way that we share the air we breathe. The awakening of consciousness will benefit all others, because we all share in the consciousness and its awakening."

They also write, "The breath is the outer vinyasa, or connecting element; the intention is the inner vinyasa. Controlling the breath will help you control your thoughts. Try to eliminate extra breaths. There should be only one inhale or exhale per movement while moving. The durations of inhale and exhale should be equal and the the breath should last from the time a movement begins until slightly after it is completed. When we perfect the ability to invest each of the positions with the same steady, even breath, we may perceive the ever-present consciousness inhabiting all worldly forms."

Click here to read the August Jivamukti Focus-of-the-Month, titled "Time is on Our Side" by Jutta Ariane Mele-Maurer.

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