This slow moving, deep exploratory class provides the student with the underlying basics of how a vinyasa practice works. Vinyasa is a method of practicing asana (physical poses), where the asanas are presented in a sequence, flowing one to the next. The practice focuses on aligning one’s breath and spiritual intention with movement. The class follows a set sequence of asanas but is presented at a slower, more relaxed pace than in the Spiritual Warrior class. There is only minimal focus on basic alignment, the main emphasis being on breathing while holding asanas as well as on transitioning into and out of asanas gracefully and safely. Beginner Vinyasa classes provide a good transition for a beginner student from Basic classes to the Spiritual Warrior or Open classes and provide an opportunity for a more advanced student to refine their skills through a more detailed exploration of the asanas presented and how they can flow together seamlessly by means of steady paced ujjayi breathing. This class is suitable for beginners, but open to all levels of practitioner.
Because the teacher will be talking almost continuously to keep the breath pace steady, and the student will be focusing on listening to their own breath and silently counting to themselves, music might be a distraction in this class, so the teacher must choose music wisely or choose not to play music during most of the class. Teaching from the Focus on the Month is not required in this class, although a teacher may choose to read a line from the FOM or relate some teaching from the FOM if it is applicable to the setting of intention or any other part of the curriculum. The set sequences that form the curriculum should be followed in the order given. The detailed instructions should be used by the teacher as an outline; every point should be covered, but the teacher has leeway to improvise as long as they emphasis the vinyasa aspect. Even though this class has a set sequence it is not like the set sequence in the Spiritual Warrior Class, where every breath is accounted for. The Beginner Vinyasa should be presented in a more relaxed way, providing time to help the students understand how to move with the breath and how to do it on their own without the teacher calling out every single breath count. The teacher should not be expected to give too many hands-on assists in this class, as it could distract the attention away from the breath flow. The teacher is free and encouraged to demonstrate. If the teacher feels the students need a rest period, they should bring everyone into child’s pose, relax and then continue (even though child’s pose might not be in the prescribed sequence at that point). There are also a few asanas that can be viewed as optional; these are marked with an asterisk. So if the teacher wants to spend more time on, for instance, Surya Namaskar, they can do that and leave out the optional asanas.