Zenyasa is a unique form of yoga that incorporates elements of Zen Buddhism and principles from exercise science. The practice includes “slow-flow” vinyasa yoga poses, Meditation, breathing exercises, and strength training exercises, with an emphasis on mindfulness. Exercises are organized around the 5 elements of Chinese medicine–earth, metal, fire, water, and wood–which are each associated with different muscle groups and energy meridians in the body. Classes are themed around each element in turn, ensuring a balanced practice.
What to expect
Zenyasa classes begin with a Buddhist meditation to still the mind. Classical formalities such as bowing to the mat, acknowledging the teacher and the class, and invoking a simple prayer of goodwill for all beings, pay respect to the lineage of the Eastern traditions. After a simple warm-up series to loosen the joints, the class will be devoted to exercises that are themed around one of the five elements, with an equal balance between strengthening and stretching exercises.
Zenyasa was created by Jason Ray Brown, a yoga teacher, massage therapist, and student of the Buddhist monk Thich Naht Hahn, who wanted to incorporate his Zen Buddhist studies as well as his studies in exercise science into his yoga practice.