Yoga flow (Or flow yoga) is a style of yoga where standard Hatha yoga postures literally flow from one to another, creating a smooth and easy pattern logically connecting one posture to the next.
Vinyasa yoga, in which movement is synchronized to the breath, is a term that covers a broad range of yoga classes. This style is sometimes also called flow yoga, because of the smooth way that the poses run together and become like a dance. The breath (Pranayama) becomes an important component because the teacher will instruct you to move from one pose to the next on an inhale or an exhale. Vinyasa is literally translated from Sanskrit as meaning “connection”.
This style allows for a lot of variety, but will almost certainly include sun salutations. Expect movement, not just stretching. Whether the class is fast or slow, includes chanting, or is very alignment-oriented will depend on the individual teacher. Some very popular yoga styles, such as Ashtanga and Power Yoga, make use of the vinyasa method, but they are most often called by their individual names for the sake of clarity.
Vinyasas can be simple, like the wave-like motion created when flowing between cat and cow pose.
A round of Sun Salutations can be seen as a more complex vinyasa.
At Diversity Yoga, our flows and vinyasas connect a range of Hatha yoga poses together. Rather than the traditional Ashtange style where the same vinyasa is repeated between prime postures, our vinyasas are more about creatively connecting different postures together. Some postures are held longer than others to get the full benefit of the practice. But moving rapidly through a series of postures builds strength and stamina, and it can be quite heat generating and cardio-vascular. So we include a range of both in our classes to give the practitioner the best of both static and flowing Hatha yoga.
The following snippet of video from Cathy Richardson’s morning self-practice, is a good example of yoga flow as we apply it at Diversity Yoga: