Vinyasa yoga, in which movement is synchronized to the breath, is a term that covers a broad range of yoga classes. This style is sometimes also called flow yoga, because of the smooth way that the poses run together and become like a dance. Vinyasa is literally translated from Sanskrit as meaning "connection," and in terms of yoga asana, we can interpret this as a connection between movement and breath. However the word ‘Vinyasa’ also means ‘placement’ and so refers to the correct placement of the breath, body and posture within a yoga practice.
Vinyasa Flow began as Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga by a Yogi named Sri Tirumala Krishnamacharya. He was given a place to teach yoga and eventually taught a young boy named Pattabhi Jois his learnings on the power of breathing. Jois then established an institute for practicing the specific form of Vinyasa yoga.
Like all styles of yoga, Vinyasa has both mental and physical benefits. Physically, sweat expels toxins and re-energizes your body. Mentally, the synchronized breathing relaxes your mind and helps to release any blockage of energy flow throughout your body.
A Vinyasa class is both a great place to start and to continue challenging yourself. If you don't love Vinyasa after your first class, try other teachers as one class can vary significantly from the next. If you like to focus on the power of breathing and flowing movement through poses, you will enjoy the Vinyasa style.