What Is Slow Flow Yoga? Physical and Mental Benefits of Slow Flow Yoga

Sunil Murthy
Written by
Last update:

What Is Slow Flow Yoga?

Slow flow can be a little hard to define. In most class descriptions, it’s usually just described as longer, more relaxing postures. Your typical Bikram or Power Flow class can be considered a slow flow class, but not all slow flows are hot.

Classes that emphasize holding poses for long periods can also be considered slow flow classes, but not all slow flows are classical style.

Here are some great postures from slow flow:

  • Supported backbend
  • Supported bridge pose
  • Supported twist
  • Supported triangle pose
  • Supported half lotus
  • Seated forward bend
  • Wide-Legged seated forward bend

Vinyasa And Hatha Yoga Makes Up Slow Flow Yoga

Vinyasa and Hatha yoga are the two main types of practice that make up Slow Flow Yoga.

Vinyasa is a Yoga style that has poses that transition between one another, while Hatha is a Yoga style that is focused on breathing, flexibility, ease, and strength. The combination of these two makes up Slow Flow Yoga.

A common misconception about the term “Slow Flow Yoga” is that the moves are slow paced or they take a long time to complete. This is not true. Both Vinyasa and Hatha have a faster-moving flow that alternates between standing poses (Vinyasa) and floor poses (Hatha).

You will find that Slow Flow Yoga is moving fast enough that you are getting a great workout, but the moves are progressed and the pace is slow enough that there is still plenty of time to truly relax, focusing on the full breath. The name, Slow Flow Yoga, refers to the smooth, fluid movements that feel slow and relaxing to the student.

Characteristics And Features

The huge diversity of poses within yoga creates unique benefits that don’t exist in other exercises. It’s a good idea to take some time and think about what you want to achieve from yoga. You may be looking for a workout, a way to heal pain, a way to meditate, or lose weight. You may want to focus on mindfulness, or you may be interested in how yoga can improve overall energy levels.

Regardless of how you approach your yoga practice, your body will improve. The poses are held for much longer than the poses in a fast flow class. The pace is steady but still not challenging. It is an excellent choice for beginner yogis. The instructor will usually stand in front of students and move at a slower pace. In slow flow classes, the yoga flow is usually not as exact, and thus the instructions are always to “find your own pace.”

You can do this by doing the poses with your slow breath, comfortably. So it goes without saying, the longer poses tend to be more beneficial than a rapid-fire routine. No matter how you approach your yoga practice, there is sure to be another student in the class who will make it all look simple. Some poses come naturally, while others require considerable focus. Some poses will raise your heart rate, while others make you sweat. Some poses challenge your balance and coordination, while others are soothing and relaxing.

Who Is It For?

Most people can do Slow Flow Yoga, but beginners should start with a slower class such as Hatha or Iyengar, which are designed to be therapeutic.
Slow Flow Yoga is particularly recommended for seniors, pregnant women, and anyone with an injury or current health concern. Slow Flow Yoga is often taught in hospitals to patients in rehabilitation treatments due to its gentle approach.

There are plenty of gentler yoga classes for beginners who have never practiced yoga before. However, beginners should be cautious about listening to their bodies and not push themselves too hard.

Physical Benefits Of Slow Flow Yoga

While doing a Slow Flow Yoga class, you will be able to stretch and strengthen muscles, which will help relieve knots and tension. Asanas, or yoga positions, are easy to follow that beginners can quickly adapt to and make themselves grounded. Slow Flow Yoga has a calming effect and makes way for proper breathing, which is the key to unlocking the cells. Asanas are held in slow motion, emphasizing stretching, which will prevent shrinking and keep the body stretching out. It is not for competitive people only. People who have a competitive nature may have to take more time to deepen their breaths.

Slow Flow Yoga emits a relaxing feeling that people who need to de-stress or cannot sleep will benefit from this practice. The relaxation helps to release any tension trapped in the body. People with back pain and other joint issues can benefit from this yoga style because Slow Flow Yoga is a form of passive yoga where the student follows along with the yoga instructor. It is a better alternative to other types of yoga, where the student will need to physically move and stretch while still holding the asanas for long periods.

According to one study, instructors can improve beginner yoga students’ attention spans by practicing Slow Flow Yoga. This type of yoga focuses on the more physical abilities of yoga movements. Students use stillness to help their minds focus and quiet their thoughts.

1. Integrate Body, Mind & Spirit

Slow flow is for advanced practitioners with a solid foundation in yoga poses and postures. This type of yoga is performed at a slow pace so that there is no interruption between poses or postures. Slow flow allows the body to move slower, and it lets the mind become more integrated with the body.

Maintaining an intention is also a key element of Slow Flow Yoga. This intention can be centered around an object such as an object of your choice, but it can also be centered around something as simple as the practice itself. An intention can be a prayer or a wish, such as wishing to become a better lover.

Slow Flow Yoga helps develop an integration of the mind, body, and spirit. When the three come together, you no longer think the body is in control, the mind is in control, or the spirit is in control. You become a union that holds power and balance. For this reason, one must maintain a sense of balance in slow flow.

2.Improves Balance

Taking your time and performing each pose with control will improve your balance. The same muscle groups used to support you when you are standing are also used to keep you balanced in a pose.
It’s all connected. When you lift your foot in a downward-facing dog and grasp your toe or hold onto the wall for balance, you use the same muscles that keep you upright.

Furthermore, a system of muscle receptors, called proprioceptors, detect the body’s alignment and make adjustments when you move slowly and balance in poses. The exercise is not just static; it’s dynamic. You notice the changes, and they tell your brain what kind of adjustments to make. This happens in slow motion, so you do not even realize it, but you are working on balance in every yoga pose.

Holding that pose at the end of the in-breath, continuing to breathe while you hold the pose for several breaths, and then holding the pose for several breaths at the end of the out-breath are all ways to add control and slow the process down, building your balance each time.

3.Develop a Healthy Routine

Introducing yoga into your life is all about introducing a routine, the logic being that if you do yoga every day, you will eventually freak out less at that thing your parents think you can only do when you're older.

We're talking about eating vegetables.

To make a regular practice possible, you have to make time in your life to make it routine. This is best done by determining a space, a level of time, and a minimum duration—no amount of yoga will help you if you can't get to it.

You can do this in a multitude of ways to keep the sense of a routine.

  1. Determine a mat space. This could be a designated area in the corner of your room or an area of the basement. It could also be a space in your closet or under your bed.

  2. Designate a time.

  3. Set a minimum duration.

If you do all of these things, even if you don't do yoga every day, you will eventually start to put it towards your routine and attain the physical benefits of yoga that way.

4.Meditation

Hinder Flow Yoga involves a slow-paced practice in which you hold poses for a longer time, ideally three breaths for every pose. Furthermore, a slower-paced practice gives you ample time to meditate.

Meditation helps you quiet the mind, focusing solely on the present. In addition to this, meditation can also be a great way to relieve the stress and tension that your body might be carrying.

Compared to the traditional yoga class, Slow Flow Yoga is likely to be therapeutic for your body and mind. Compared with fast-paced yoga, this yoga will help you feel more relaxed, at ease, and peaceful.

5.Stimulating

Even in the more gentle classes, yoga can be stimulating and challenging, especially when you’re moving into poses you aren’t used to. As you process what is happening, your brain kicks into gear, and, in some cases, you might even start to feel a little stressed by the new challenges.

But the more you practice Slow Flow Yoga, the more prepared you’ll be for what is coming next in the poses. And you’ll likely feel calmer along the way as well, even if you’re pushing your body more than the class average. As you learn to talk to your brain calmly during your practice, you might find that you’re able to speak calmly to it at other times as well.

6.Sweating

Slow Flow Yoga provides more benefits than just a change of pace. Whether you want to lose weight or not, sweating during your workout is key to your success. According to recent research, sweating during an exercise (and then cooling off after) will give you a full-body workout with the most pronounced benefits to your heart and lungs.

7.Relaxation

With the kind of lifestyle most of us lead these days, we can’t help but be uptight and stressed. And while yoga is certainly great for calming the body and mind, a considerable number of people don’t feel relaxed or peaceful while doing yoga.

That might be why Slow Flow Yoga is becoming such a hit even though it’s slower than the standard practice. It is recommended for people who are not yet ready for the physical intensity of a fast-paced flow yoga practice.

Slow Flow Yoga also puts you in a place where you can enhance your general well-being. It’s a great way to get rid of negativity, anger, and stress. It gives you time to practice self-love, which will help you build better relationships at home and work.

8. Build Strength & Flexibility

After age forty, tissues, bones, and muscles tend to lose elasticity. According to medical research, there are significant improvements in building strength and flexibility in muscle tissue and bones (assessed using lean tissue mass, total body bone mineral density, and height) in adults over forty when they practice yoga.

Since yoga is geared towards flexible body positions, it is beneficial for people of all ages. It lets you perform the exercise positions comfortably and improve your muscle strength and balance. Increased flexibility also helps you avoid injuries and stay injury-free during your practice.

Practicing yoga also improves oxygen flow to your cardiovascular system, allowing oxygen to travel to your cells, which makes you feel healthier and improves your body strength. In addition to all this, practicing yoga also makes your bones and muscles more flexible and supple, which helps you lose weight and get toned.

9. Soothing

All yoga practices have a calming effect, and deliberate slow-paced ones are particularly soothing. To slow down means to pause. And over time, you may want to extend that pause. In a fast-paced world of people, phones, and emails, you will find yourself able to take a breath and smile more often.

You’ll start paying attention to the details of life: a sunset, the birds singing at dawn, the feel of a tulip petal. Slow Flow Yoga means mindfulness. Are you a parent of young children? Especially if you are a stay-at-home parent, you’ll particularly benefit from developing mindfulness. You may become so busy meeting the basic needs of your family that you neglect taking in the details of life.

Mental Health Benefits Of Slow Flow Yoga

Yoga is a great way to de-stress and relax both your body and mind. Yoga helps to focus the mind and relax the body at the same time. It’s an ideal medium for relieving all the tension and stress that comes with daily living. It works by calming your body and slowing down your breathing, creating a state of relaxation that allows you to meditate and focus your thoughts.

1. Helps To Manage Stress

Yoga helps to manage and deal with stress. Breathing slowly and deeply at the end of a yoga class makes your body feel refreshed and relaxed. This can help you to feel calm and deal with stress throughout your day.

2. Helps With Depression

When you start to build a good balance between mind and body and you get better control of your thoughts, fighting depression becomes easier. Slow Flow Yoga will help fight depression and bring meaning to life.

3. Nourishes The Brain

Over time, the correct practice of Slow Flow Yoga is said to build up a clear mind and develop mindfulness. This gives you a naturally energetic and healthy brain.

4. Manages Insomnia

Slow Flow Yoga may help with improving the quality and quantity of sleep. Good sleep leads to a healthy life.

Example for Slow Flow Yoga

Here is a nice video from YouTube showing you a sample Slow Flow Yoga class to see if this might be the right fit for you.

Concluding Thoughts

Slow flow is also inclusive, and there is no one way to perform a Slow Flow Yoga session. One can hold poses for as long as the practitioner wishes to hold them. If this goes against your belief system, you can do your slow flow and see what you like about it.

If you are interested in taking yoga with a slower approach, you should make an appointment with a trusted yoga instructor. Most of them have a vast repertoire of yoga poses, and they know what the body can and cannot handle.
The most crucial point here is to know that you are in good hands. If you are unsure of what suitable yoga poses are for you, your instructor will provide you with the perfect guide to bring you closer to your goals. However, make sure that you do not neglect your health and body after going through the yoga poses.

You should constantly monitor your health, and you should always keep an eye on your body. If you notice some discomfort, do not ignore it. Yoga poses are a great exercise, and they will improve your health. However, they are not a healthcare treatment.