Viniyoga™ adapts various methods of yoga practice to the unique condition, needs, and interests of the student, using tools to individualize and actualize the process of self-discovery and personal transformation. Adapted from the teachings of T. Krishnamacharya to his son, T.K.V. Desikachar, Viniyoga was further refined by Gary Kraftsow, founder of the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI).
According to AVI, “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.” Derived from yoga sutra 3.6: tasya bhūmiṣu viniyogaḥ: “The practice [of samyama] is to be accomplished in stages.” Samyama is the combination of the last three limbs of yoga: dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (liberation, or enlightenment).
Viniyoga utilizes the principles of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, which involves the warming up and contracting of a muscle before stretching it as a way to decrease injury. Each posture begins with a gentle moving into and out of the posture so that the body becomes accustomed to the pose in a gradual manner.
Viniyoga is particularly beneficial for people who need a more therapeutic approach to the practice of yoga. Viniyoga can address low back pain or sciatica, hip tightness, or upper back, neck, and shoulder sensitivities. The practice focuses on targeted movements and holding of postures linked with specific breathing patterns to loosen tight muscles that might be inhibiting movement and creating pain.