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About Gary Kraftsow

Founder and Director of the American Viniyoga Institute

Gary Kraftsow has been a pioneer in the transmission of yoga for health, healing and personal transformation for over 30 years. He began his study of yoga in India with T.K.V. Desikachar, in 1974 and received a Viniyoga ™ Special Diploma from Viniyoga ™ International in Paris, France in 1988.

Gary graduated with a BA, Magna Cum Laude, from Colgate University in 1976, and received his Masters Degree in Psychology and Religion from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1983. At this time he opened Maui School of Yoga Therapy. Since then, he has become a renowned speaker and teacher of the Viniyoga ™ methodology at many conferences and schools nationally and internationally. In 1999 he founded the American Viniyoga ™ Institute, LLC.

Gary has successfully developed protocol for two National Institutes of Health studies: "Evaluating Yoga for Chronic Low Back Pain" and "Yoga Therapy for Generalized Anxiety."

He is the Director and Senior Teacher of the American Viniyoga ™ Institute, and the author of two books published by Penguin: Yoga for Wellness and Yoga for Transformation; and author of two educational DVD's 'Viniyoga Therapy for Low Back, Sacrum and Hips' and 'Viniyoga Therapy for Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders'.

Visit Gary's profile on eomega.com to see a video where he discusses the history of his yogic path and his current areas of study.

Experience Gary

Professional Trainings

Gary Kraftsow is the lead teacher/lecturer for AVI Professional Training Programs, including the Viniyoga Foundations Program (300 hour and 500 hour options) and the Viniyoga Therapist Training. Enrolling in an AVI Professional Training is an immersion in the Viniyoga methodology with Gary Kraftsow.

What is it like to study with Gary Kraftsow in an AVI training? You can expect to receive daily lectures and practices that integrate lecture content from Gary on a daily basis. In addition, Gary leads observational experiences, lectures on yoga philosophy and provides question and answer sessions.


Gary Kraftsow provides a variety of lectures/programs at yoga and Yoga Therapy conferences, collaborating yoga studios and retreat centers.

» View our event calendar for a full list of events

If you are interested in hosting Gary at a conference, yoga studio or retreat center, please contact Donna at donnam@viniyoga.com.


Gary Kraftsow's transmission of yoga has evolved into several products including:


  • Yoga for Wellness
  • Yoga for Transformation


  • Viniyoga Therapy for Low Back, Sacrum and Hips
  • Viniyoga Therapy for Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders
  • Viniyoga Therapy for Anxiety
  • Viniyoga Therapy for Depression

Audio CDs

  • Chanting Live with Gary Kraftsow
  • Yoga Sutra-s of Patanjali Chapter One: A Commentary by Gary Kraftsow
  • Yoga for Wellness

» Visit our store to purchase or for more information on products. 

Yoga Research Consultation

"Increasingly, yoga is being looked at more seriously by western health care. Further western style research, such the NIH study on back pain, is needed to document and create what is called evidenced-based medicine for yoga therapy."

- Gary Kraftsow, MA, E-RYT–500
Founder and Director of the American Viniyoga™ Institute, LLC

As part of his deep commitment to furthering the work of Yoga Therapy, Gary serves on the International Association of Yoga Therapists Educational Standards Committee and actively participates in Yoga Therapy research.

He developed the yoga protocol for the 2003 National Institutes of Health study “Evaluating Yoga for Chronic Low Back Pain,” which demonstrated the positive effect of yoga on low back pain. In 2005, the study results were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Since then Gary has developed the yoga protocol for a Harvard Medical School study for generalized anxiety, designed another for an Aetna Insurance company pilot study on managing workplace stress, and consulted on several studies for other health conditions, including abdominal obesity, COPD, and non-small cell lung cancer.

» For more information on Gary Kraftsow and the American Viniyoga Institute's yoga research consultation, visit our Yoga Research Consultation page

Private Yoga Therapy

Gary Kraftsow, MA, E-RYT (500) offers private yoga therapy in Oakland, California.

» Email Donna at donnam@viniyoga.com for more information and to get on the waiting list (typically 18 months)

Gary is not able to do private yoga therapy while at conferences and events.  When working privately with students, Gary prefers to schedule 3 to 5 sessions for 1.5 hours each day in a given week.

» Download PDF

As always - I am inspired by Gary's knowledge, understanding and life giving yoga and his ability to make it applicable to everyday life.

LeeAnn Matson, Austin, TX

Gary speaks from a great depth of immersion in, and understanding of the ancient roots of yoga practice and philosophy. He combines this with a sound practical focus, and is able to communicate with clarity and humor.

A.K., Carmel, IN

Gary's depth of knowledge on the sutras and how to interpret them with respect to yoga therapy is wonderful. He has a unique quality to share his gift of therapy...

K.M, Denton, TX

When you watch Gary working with a client, you see the many levels of his powers of observation. I feel grateful for the teachings I have received through Gary.

Jill Dunkley, Ontario, Canada

Gary is a thoughtful, intellectual, contemplative instructor.

L.R., Carnation, WA

Gary's depth of knowledge on the sutras and how to interpret them with respect to yoga therapy is wonderful. He has a unique quality to share his gift of therapy...

K.M, Denton, TX

Gary's knowledge of yoga is deep and extensive. The integration of asana, pranayama, mantra, and meditation in the context of classical yoga philosophy was comprehensible and compelling.

M.J, Portland, OR

Gary presents the history and philosophical perspective in a very interesting and accessible manner. He has inspired me to expand my home practice to meet my changing daily needs.

J.M., Chicago, IL

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