Professional Training


Click to contact AVI Student Advisor Dona Robinson ( or call 317-938-0123 for more information on any of our Professional Training Programs. Dona is an experienced Viniyoga Teacher and Viniyoga Therapist who can guide you in your yoga career path.

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Viniyoga Therapist Training

Gary Kraftsow, MA, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
Founder & Director of the American Viniyoga Institute.

Gary Kraftsow, MA, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT is Founder and Director of the American Viniyoga Institute. He has been actively involved as a practitioner of Viniyoga for almost four decades. He has many years of experience as a teacher, Yoga Therapist, and trainer of teachers and Yoga Therapists in the Viniyoga methodology. Gary is directly involved in the training on a daily basis and is the main lecturer. Students will benefit from his lectures, practices, and case studies at the training and his leadership in and knowledge of the evolution of the Yoga Therapy profession in the United States.

Gary Kraftsow is author of:

  • Yoga for Wellness,
  • Yoga for Transformation, 
  • Viniyoga Therapy for Low Back, Sacrum and Hips DVD, 
  • Viniyoga Therapy for Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders DVD, 
  • Viniyoga Therapy for Depression DVD, 
  • Viniyoga Therapy for Anxiety DVD, 
  • Chanting Live Gary Kraftsow CD, 
  • and Yoga Sutra-s of Patanjali Chapter One 4 CD set.
Learn more about Gary »

Mary Hilliker, RD, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
AVI Viniyoga Therapist Training.

Mary is the Curriculum and Training Coordinator, as well as Senior Faculty for AVI's Viniyoga Therapist Training and Continuing Education (CE) Programs.  She was AVI Director of Administration in 2011-12 and Training Coordinator for the 2011 Foundations for Yoga Therapy Training.  She is a graduate of the University of WI-Madison with a B.S. in General Dietetics and holds certifications for a 200-hr yoga teacher training with Elizabeth Patric in 2002, the 500-hr AVI yoga teacher training in 2007 and the AVI Yoga Therapist Training in 2009.  Mary had a 25+ year career in public health in nutrition and chronic disease prevention, most recently with the UW-Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center, which informs her work with AVI and her teaching.  Mary resides in Wausau, WI with her husband where she has a Yoga Therapy practice and teaches general, worksite, senior and therapeutic classes and workshops.
Kenneth Tom, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, RYT 500, C-IAYT
AVI Viniyoga Therapist Training.
Ken is an AVI certified Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist. He is a licensed speech-language pathologist specializing in the treatment of voice disorders and is currently Associate Professor of Communicative Disorders in the Department of Human Communication Studies at the California State University, Fullerton. Kenneth completed a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology at San Diego State University and a Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Iowa focusing on voice acoustics and biomechanics. His teaching and research focus on voice acoustics and physiology, voice disorders, and care of the professional voice. He integrates the tools of yoga, myofascial release, acupressure and techniques adapted from theatre/singing voice into his work in voice care/rehabilitation.
Margy Smariga, MA, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
AVI Viniyoga Therapist Training.

Margy came to yoga to find relief from back pain. She found the practice of yoga to be deeply nourishing and quickly became hooked. Wanting to deepen her practice and her understanding of yoga, she completed Bagheera Yoga/Pruyoga’s 200-hour teacher training in Washington, DC. She realized she was drawn to share her love of yoga with others, and began teaching in 2005. She graduated from AVI’s advanced teacher training in 2009 and its yoga therapist training in 2011. In 2013, she joined the faculty of the Viniyoga Foundations Program and joins the AVI 2016 Yoga Therapy Team as Faculty. Margy lives in Frederick, MD, where she has a yoga therapy practice and teaches group classes.
Julie Shaw, RYT 500, CYT
AVI Viniyoga Therapist Training.

Julie joined the faculty of AVI’s Viniyoga Therapist Training in 2016, and continues to serve as Administrative Coordinator for the Therapist Training Program, Continuing Education programs and digital courses.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Adult and Continuing Education from Rutgers University. In the 1980’s, Julie’s long commute to her job as a corporate trainer resulted in back pain, so she looked up “yoga” in the yellow pages. Many years and a few teacher trainings later, her search for clear direction in the world of yoga practice and teaching ended at AVI’s doorstep, where she graduated from the Therapist program in 2012. Julie teaches yoga and maintains a Yoga Therapy practice, which includes a clinical role in the Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease at Atlantic Health Systems in central New Jersey.
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