The author discusses the evolutionary process of yoga through the narrative, dialectic device. Long ago, in my personal study, I set out to discover if there were core Hatha yoga (the path of physical gymnastics typically understood as “yoga” in the West) principles that governed the movement between asana (postures). In other words, I sought to determine what yoga between the poses was, what sewed their solitary poise together into graceful movement.
A client of mine, a successful yoga school owner, Bri, disclosed some insights on vinyasa as we initially began a conversation about flow in Ashtanga yoga (a particular style of Hatha yoga). Vinyasa is basically a series of yoga postures sequenced together to concentrate on breathing through and between the postures, or asana.
Bri said that although it is mistakenly understood as “movement flows,” vinyasa actually means a number of yoga postures “linked together in a certain way.” She continued on to say that focusing on breathing is the essential ingredient when sequencing asana. The breath must lead the way in the movement from posture to posture. Before a movement, the mind must know exactly where the breath is so that movement and breath are perfectly synchronized.
Since structural alignment is an obvious focus of yoga, when she mentioned this I instantly recognized a universal exercise phenomenon, whether it was T ai Chi Chuan from China, Zdorovye from Russia, or Hatha yoga from India: Flow-state requires the discipline to integrate breath with the structure and movement.