What Is Viniyoga?

Appropriate application of the tools of yoga

Viniyoga ™ is a comprehensive and authentic transmission of the teachings of yoga including asana, pranayama, bandha, sound, chanting, meditation, personal ritual and study of texts. Viniyoga ™ (prefixes vi and ni plus yoga) is an ancient Sanskrit term that implies differentiation, adaptation, and appropriate application.

tasya bhūmiṣu viniyogaḥ
Sutra 3.6, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The American Viniyoga™ Institute uses the term Viniyoga™ to refer to an approach to Yoga that adapts the various means and methods of practice to the unique condition, needs and interests of each individual - giving each practitioner the tools to individualize and actualize the process of self-discovery and personal transformation.

The practices of Yoga provide the means to bring out the best in each practitioner. This requires an understanding of a person's present condition, personal potential, appropriate goals and the means available. Just as every person is different, these aspects will vary with each individual.


Gary Kraftsow, MA, E-RYT 500, evolved this approach to yoga from the teachings transmitted by T. Krishnamacharya and T.K.V. Desikachar of Madras, India.


What distinguishes Viniyoga from other forms of yoga?

There are four points that characterize the main difference between the Viniyoga approach and most other forms of asana practice:

1. Repetition & Stay

The use of repetition into and out of postures in addition to holding postures

2. Function over form

The emphasis on function rather than form in asana practice, and the science of adapting the forms of the postures to achieve different results

3. Breath & Adaptation

The emphasis on breath as the medium for movement in asana, and the science of adapting the pattern of breathing in asana to produce different effects

4. Art & Science of Sequencing

The refined art and science of combination which allows teachers to create sequences of different orientation, length, and intensity to suit the intention and context of each practice.

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