Revised 4/9: video added!
Next Saturday, April 13th, I’ll be presenting my monthly masterclass at The Breathing Room in Cambridge. This one is called Dynamic Vinyasa, which means, well, what exactly? I’ve already been asked that a few times, so I thought I’d lay it out here.
First, what it isn’t. Dynamic vinyasa is not any sort of attempt at a brand or a new “school” of yoga. No teacher or studio has a corner on dynamic movement, but not all explore it with the same interest or care. If you’ve done much yoga, there’s a good chance you’ve already experienced it in your body.
Dynamic vinyasa as such has been around at least since Krishnamacharya’s shala of young students early in the 20th century, and probably longer than that. Brazililan Capoeira, in many ways the South American cousin to the modern asana practice, does a huge amount of dynamic stretching. Many, many teachers have used if not the term, then the idea of dynamic vinyasa, perhaps most famously Angela Farmer, Shiva Rea, and all of the teachers who promote yoga/martial arts hybirds. It’s also getting a lot of attention right now in the fitness world in “primal movement” based forms and classes, like this.
above: drop stance, one of the novel movements in a dynamic vinyasa practice
Dynamic vinyasa extends out of the technique of dynamic stretching. The clearest definition I’ve seen comes from a California training center’s blog: “Dynamic stretching are active movements of muscle that bring forth a stretch but are not held in the end position.” For instance, rather than taking a static lunge, you might pulse your hips in the lunge, or wave your upper body in a seated stretch like you were a lighter at a rock concert. (for some reason I always think of Extreme, but that was the make-out song of my high school years). The opposite of a dynamic stretch is a static on- i.e. holding a pose.
Often in vinyasa and “power” yoga classes the dynamic movement is the “vinyasa”, push up with dogs, and the step to or from a pose. But any movement or stretch that we take statically we can move into, out of, with and around. This is the basis of dynamic vinyasa. On top of that, this workshop will incorporate other dynamic stretching ideas from not just yoga, but dance, martial arts, and more. (I hope to be posting some video on this theme later this week.)
Why do it? There are any number of reasons. Sometimes the body can get more out of a stretch when you move it around, especially in tighter places.
Dynamic vinyasa is not inherently “easier” or “harder” than any other kind of yoga; dynamic flows can be very gently or very challenging. Likewise it’s not inherently safe or unsafe- it’s all in the care and precision you put in. I’d encourage anyone deepening their practice to put their poses on the move. If you’d like to do it with me in Cambridge next week, sign-up is here.