08/11/2014 11:18 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Good Reasons to Delay Your Vinyasa


Listen, I also love and teach the various jump back, step back, and float backs to chaturanga, plank, bhujangasana, and upward facing dog vinyasa. However, as with any packed class you can't always catch the ones that are cringe-worthy, and even if you could you can't always stop the train and get someone up to speed without losing the momentum of the rest of the practice. So for my fellow yoga teachers, I'll give you five ways to avoid the nightmares that can wake you in a cold sweat with visions of students looking like turtles in cobra or car crash whiplash victims in urdhva mukha svanasana right after they collapse, flop, crash and burn in chaturanga. And for students, theses five tips will help empower your yoga no matter who's leading the practice.

5) Lets admit it, in the typical 90-minute flow class that's popular these days we do too damn many vinyasas preformed either by rote and/or without skill. As Charles Barkley would say, "It's just turreble."

4) By at least limiting what I call the "automatic vinyasa" to only the A & B Sun series we will potentially save the over use of the shoulders, elbows, wrists and low backs. Also as an added bonus, the student will conserve energy that can be used for the rest of the practice.

3) The skill needed in the transition from chaturanga to upward facing dog is underestimated and complex. It's a potential meat grinder for the shoulders if done in a repetitious flow without the necessary skill and form.

2) All these uninformed and unskilled automatic vinyasas are a can of worms that has the potential to leave you all jacked up and a physical mess. And feeling and looking like that will ruin your social and dating life. What, with the common co-dog contraption that leaves your shoulders crammed up around your ears like hoop earrings and the lower vertebra jammed together like stack of quarters leaving you about a dollar short and a day late. How could it not?

1) I have the cure for this yoga travesty that's invading mats at studios and homes everywhere. I've coined this cure "The Delayed Vinyasa." A delayed vinyasa provides an opportunity for a profound moment within the practice. It's a moment between postures where we step back into downward facing dog vs. automatically slipping into the habit of entering into an over used, tired, misaligned and intention forsaken vinyasa. To employ "The Delayed Vinyasa" is as simple as skipping the habitual vinyasa from uttanasana or virabhadrasana or any posture that is preceded by the instruction of "and now go through your vinyasa." It allows you to find your way back to dog where you can take a breath or two and either make a decision to modify or skip the vinyasa. After that pause for the cause you may decide to attack the vinyasa with renewed energy, mental clarity and technique. This will keep you honest and in control thus keeping injury at arms length.

A delayed vinyasa will buy you extra time to feel the energetic effects of the previous posture and gives you a moment to restore the breath and plug into the power and joy of a well-performed injury free-practice.

Try it. You'll like it.