First Stop: Vinyasa

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You may have heard the word "Vinyasa" used before to describe a yoga class, but do you really know what it means? Vinyasa is a style of yoga that emphasizes breath-movement coordination and repetitions of flowing poses.

Some of Vinyasa's more recognizable poses are downward dog, commonly used as a resting position, and repeated sequences of plank, chaturanga, and upward facing dog. Though most Vinyasa classes share these common poses, other Vinyasa poses vary widely.

Kerry L. Smith, a Vinyasa yoga teacher at Hemenway Gym, takes requests to target specific body regions during her sessions—try the hip openers if you have been spending long hours sitting in Lamont.

"As a teacher, I can be so creative with the order of the poses and the sequence, depending on the students in my classes; it's a lot of fun to teach because it's different every time," Smith wrote in an e-mail.

Vinyasa classes are offered frequently throughout the week, and the hours can be found on the MAC and Hemenway websites. As different instructors teach during different time slots throughout the week, these Flyby correspondents suggest testing the waters to figure out which class best fits your needs.

All Harvard Vinyasa classes are rated as intermediate level by the Harvard Athletic Department, which suggests attending five beginner classes before attempting an intermediate level class. Feel free, however, to use your own discretion in choosing a class at the appropriate level of intensity.

"Listen to your body. Don't forget to breathe," wrote Smith, as a caution to beginning yogis.

In addition to achieving a heightened connection between breath and body, Vinyasa yoga also offers an intense stretching and strengthening workout. Before you go to any Harvard group exercise class, remember to register online.

Next stop on these correspondents' yoga journey—power yoga. Stay tuned!

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