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Viniyoga is a gentle practice created by T.K.V. Desikachar, the son of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, whereby poses are synchronized with the breath in sequences determined by the individual needs of the practitioner.
Viniyoga makes use of modified yoga poses that can be designed to meet the specific needs of the individual, with the goal to enhance healing, flexibility and strength of joints. Practices may include pranayama, meditation, reflection, study and other classic elements, but the emphasis of Viniyoga is on coordinating breath and movement. Viniyoga’s flowing movement or vinyasa is similar to Ashtanga Vinyasa's dynamic series of poses, but is performed at a greatly reduced pace and stress level. Poses and flows are chosen to suit the student’s abilities, and thus, Viniyoga is usually taught privately, one on one, or in small groups.

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Contributed by: Lyn Banas-Petronsky       Date: April 13, 2010
New Suggested Wording: “The Viniyoga™ approach evolved out of the teachings transmitted by T. Krishnamacharya and T.K.V. Desikachar of Chennai, India. Viniyoga is an ancient Sanskrit term that implies differentiation, adaptation, and appropriate application. Yoga provides the means to bring out the best in each individual. This requires an understanding of a person's present condition, personal potential, appropriate goals and the means available. As each person is different, these will vary with each individual. As a style of practice, Viniyoga refers to an approach to Yoga that adapts the various means and methods of practice to the unique condition, needs and interests of the individual. As a result, each practitioner is given the tools to individualize and actualize the process of self-discovery and personal transformation. Basic Viniyoga training which gives the student a foundation in Viniyoga is necessary for advanced training in Viniyoga Therapy. Yoga Therapy, derived from the Yoga tradition of Patanjali and the Ayurvedic system of health, refers to the adaptation and application of Yoga techniques and practices to help individuals facing health challenges at any level manage their condition, reduce symptoms, restore balance, increase vitality and improve attitude.” Gary Kraftsow, founder, director and lead teacher of the American Viniyoga Institute. Viniyoga and Viniyoga Therapy is taught one-on-one or in groups classes.
Contributors Background: Gary Kraftsow hold the Trademark for Viniyoga. He trained with Desikachar who sent him to the US to teach Viniyoga 30+ years ago and that is in fact what he did and has been doing ever since. He is the founder, director and lead teacher of the American Viniyoga Institute. I am a graduate of AVIs 500+ contact hour Viniyoga Teacher Training program which is the foundation training for Viniyoga Therapy and I have completed their 500+ contact hour Viniyoga Therapist training program - both programs contact hours were taught by Gary himself. I have also been employed by AVI since December 2007 handling their electronic media and administrative support. I have include a new definition of Viniyoga/Therapy above as it is defined by Gary. You can find information on Viniyoga on AVIs FAQ web page, that is -faq - --- Thank you for your time and posting of Viniyoga.
Description of Changes and Refencces: I think that most people try to explain Viniyoga in detail and that is when the mistakes come into those descriptions. It is in fact an "approach to yoga". There are errors in the existing description of Viniyoga. It is not a gentle practice – it is what it needs to be for the individual seeking the practice. Saying that Viniyoga makes use of “modified yoga poses” implies that that is all it does, it only does this when it serves a practitioner. To say that the goal of the Viniyoga practice is to “enhance healing, flexibility and strength of joints” implies that is all a Viniyoga practice does, its effect and affect is totally dependent upon the needs of the practitioner (e.g. this could be for stress relief and contain no asana at all). To say that the emphasis of Viniyoga is on “coordinating breath and movement” is only true when it is appropriate for the practitioner; a practice may not contain any asana or movement at all. Vinyasa is only one tool of Viniyoga and it is just one way to affect an asana practice, again it is only used if it is appropriate for the practitioner. Viniyoga in general is not done at a “greatly reduced pace”, the pace of the practice is determined by the practitioner and it could be a practice for one training for a marathon or someone who has been living with the condition of MS for 30+ years. I don’t think that the term “stress level” is the right term to describe a Viniyoga practice - this practice teachers that the practice is not about pushing oneself to one’s limits but rather working to the best of ones ability today with the resources that one has today. Asana, if chosen as a tool to use in a practice are chosen for more than just the student’s ability. (There are as many descriptions of Viniyoga practice as there are Viniyoga practitioners.)

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