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What is Slow Flow Yoga (9 Reasons to Go Slow in Your Vinyasa Yoga Practice)

Learn all about what a slow flow yoga is all about and discover the various advantages and reasons why should be practicing slow flow vinyasa yoga now.

A woman doing a reverse warrior yoga pose.

Slow Flow Yoga is a wonderfully gentle way of doing yoga postures with deliberation and calm. The pace of a flow class is meditative and focuses on peace and serenity in the mind and your body awareness. Poses are held longer, breathing very intentional, and transitions flow.

Slow Flow Yoga helps the student take time between yoga postures, doing several rounds of breathing during each pose instead of moving in shorter breathing/time increments. There is space between poses, but it still allows for the gentle rhythm of a flow sequence.

Practicing Slow Flow Vinyasa Yoga means the transitions are lengthier so while there are fewer transitions, the ones that happen are more intentional and deliberate. Slow Flow’s goal is to be meditative and calm while still working on improving strength and flexibility, making this a great Vinyasa practice even for the most experienced students.

Slow Flow Yoga is wonderful for beginners and experts. For a beginner, the slow transition between poses means there is time to learn, be corrected, breathe, and stretch as needed. Time is open so the rush to get to the next pose is not as hurried. With an extended time for transitions, there is an ability to assess if modifications are needed due to limitations of a physical nature or experience.

There is time for a mental thought process to happen as the body moves through a sequence. The mind and body connection are a central goal for all yoga, and slow-flowing deliberately works on that connection to improve it. It helps the person practicing it to discover personal limitations and how to work through and past those limitations.

Slow Flow Yoga is not just for those who are learning or may have some form of physical limitation. It is for anyone who does yoga, even the most accomplished. Every person can discover what their personal challenges are and then use Slow Flow Yoga to mindfully work through a sequence at a slower place to work on those challenges.

Slow Flow does not mean simplistic. It just means there is space to discover difficulties and then work through them. Every person who does yoga, even the most advanced, can learn with the slow, reflective pace of Slow Flow Yoga. Poses are able to be refined and strength can be improved with a smooth, slow, thoughtful pace. Body familiarity is heightened, pauses allow adjustments and lots of reflection. It is a type of moving meditation.

Slow Flow Yoga is for everyone. It is about improvement and sustainability. Slowing your flow means that poses are correct, supported, and doable. Correction protects joints, and adapting helps those who are limited in their physical abilities, allowing for yoga to be sustainable no matter what the person’s level of ability is.

9 Reasons to Go Slow in Your Vinyasa Yoga Practice

A woman doing a warrior pose at a mountaintop.

  1. It Helps Sustainability – Doing Slow Flow Yoga will allow those who practice Vinyasa Yoga to do it as they get older. It is a very sustainable practice that adjusts as your body changes. Using Slow Flow Yoga allows the practitioner to work on the content that will increase the functionality of all body parts that become slower and worn with age. It can help not only the most advanced continue to do yoga into their later years, but those who have injuries and limitations can also use Slow Flow Yoga to assess poses and make adjustments so they work well to meet their current physical needs.
  2. Reduces Pain – While yoga should never hurt, there are times when perhaps our body is not up to doing regular poses. Slow Flow means you can adjust if you feel discomfort. Having time to modify a pose or transition means there is the ability to reduce any issues around pain. A pose can be made simpler or adapted by slowing down and being attentive to what the body is experiencing. Going slow in a Vinyasa Yoga session means you can figure out what works best for a particular physical situation. Having an option to adjust each pose as needed is paramount to pain reduction.
  3. Injury Prevention – As people age, their joints, ligaments and tendons can become more prone to injury. There are also those younger people who have experienced medical issues or injuries and are unable to continue with some of the more intense forms of yoga. By going slow in a Vinyasa yoga session, the work on sustainable poses becomes more important. Sustainability and preventing injury are complimentary. Assessing poses and making adjustments to reduce wear and tear on joints or for protecting weakened areas protects injured areas as well as preventing new injuries as well.
  4. Listening to Your Body – Yoga is about the mind and body connection and experience. Doing Slow Flow Yoga intensifies that. It is about cultivating a relationship that is even better within the self. Slowing things down means there is a stronger ability to listen more carefully to the inner voice, the language of the body, and the calming of the mind. Building on all these things enhances the building a relationship between body, mind and spirit intentionally. This is present in regular Vinyasa Yoga practice but is enhanced through Slow Flow.
  5. Be Grateful – Learning to go slow in your Vinyasa Yoga practice will help you learn to go slow, breathe and enjoy the movements the body can do. Slow Flow will help you garner and grow the appreciation and thankfulness for what the body can accomplish even under limitations. The ability to slowly take inventory of what a body can do and how it adjusts as needed with various poses shows that it is a brilliantly designed entity that brings us much joy when we listen and pay attention to it.
  6. Vinyasa Sessions Will Become More Mindful – Many people run their lives on a strict routine. Session times are set with regularity for work meetings, appointments and personal activities. Everything has to fit in properly to the schedule of the day. People become automated as they work through the moments of the day. This includes their yoga sessions.

Flying through a session with little thought and just repeating the poses that have been ingrained in us defeats the purpose. It is not sustainable and will do little for personal well being. It is important to go back to being grounded in the yoga process being used. Slow Flow in a Vinyasa session can do that.

A close look at a woman doing an eagle yoga pose.

It brings us back down to a place of reflection by slowing everything down. It demands thought, assessment, and an ability to hear how the body is directing you to the safest and most sustainable pose that works. The bonus is that this heightened sense of awareness can be brought into everyday life as well, so an individual can become aware of everyday needs that may have missed in the busy times of life.

  1. Precision and Specificity – Each time that Slow Flow Yoga is practiced in a Vinyasa session, there is the ability to become more precise and specific with each pose. With the engagement that comes with slower transitions, there is the ability to work on small details that might otherwise be missed at a regular pace. There may be small tweaks such as a hand, foot or knee position that just needs to shift by a few degrees, but makes a world of difference. Each small shift adds to the sustainability of the yoga itself. Working on the big and small changes to create a precise personal pose is highly beneficial in the long run.
  2. Raising the Bar – Slowing things down in a Vinyasa practise session does not mean it is going to be easier to do. It actually means that the bar is being raised on how it is being done. Slow Flow is advanced in that it challenges an induvial to work harder and be much more intuitive with their body. It creates the time and space to focus on precision and the detailed work of yoga in building the mind, body, spirit connection rather than simply attending sessions and mindlessly going through the paces. It raises the bar on self-awareness and poses with variations that work for each person rather than just the standard group.
  3. Increasing the Challenge – When the attempt is made to go slow rather than the usual pace of Vinyasa yoga, it becomes more challenging and advanced. This does not mean it is only for those who can do advanced yoga, but it becomes advanced in that it can create precision and mindfulness at any level of ability. It will elevate all practices.

Slow Flow allows instructors to be more involved with their students and assist in making corrections for all levels of practitioners. It also lets those who are more advanced work on their poses mindfully for correction and improvement. It allows for adaptation for easier flow and sustainability. The challenge is not about the level of difficultly but the level of preciseness.

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