The style of yoga that Margy teaches is called Viniyoga. Viniyoga offers a welcome alternative to the “one-size-fits-all” approach to yoga that’s so prevalent in today’s yoga studios and gyms. Viniyoga emphasizes developing a highly customized personal practice to meet the unique conditions, needs, and interests of each individual.
A personal yoga practice takes into consideration an individual’s age, physical condition, current life situation, and goals. Depending upon a person’s needs and interests, the practice can be developmental (to build strength), preventive (to preserve stability and strength and prevent injury), therapeutic (to reduce suffering), or transcendental (focusing on meditation and prayer).
Viniyoga emphasizes that asana practice is not fundamentally about the postures but about the practitioner. Function is emphasized over form. Each posture has specific functions, and classical postures are often adapted to help an individual achieve a desired effect (for example, change in skeletal alignment, musculature, or neuromuscular patterns). Key elements of asana practice include integration of the breath with the movement of the spine, repetition and stay, and careful attention to sequencing.
Viniyoga is an integrative approach to yoga, in which asana (physical postures) is only one of several tools. Other tools include pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, chanting, ritual, and prayer. When used together and practiced regularly, these tools can help us move toward achieving our highest potential.
Viniyoga evolved from the rich teachings transmitted by T. Krishnamacharya and his son T.K.V. Desikachar of Chennai, India. Gary Kraftsow, Founder and Director of the American Viniyoga Institute, was instrumental in bringing these teachings to the West. For more information, visit the American Viniyoga Institute’s website.
“Viniyoga, which combines breathing techniques, simple postures, and deep relaxation, may be the most effective form of yoga for back pain.”—Consumer Reports, August 2014
Desikachar, T.K.V. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice.
Kaminoff, Leslie and Amy Matthews. Yoga Anatomy, 2nd edition.
Kraftsow, Gary. Yoga for Transformation.
Kraftsow, Gary. Yoga for Wellness.
Mohan, A.G. Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind: A Guide to Personal Reintegration.
Mohan, A.G. and Indra Mohan. Yoga Therapy: A Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Yoga and Ayurveda for Health and Fitness.
CDs and DVDs
Kraftsow, Gary. Viniyoga Therapy for Anxiety.
Kraftsow, Gary. Viniyoga Therapy for Depression.
Kraftsow, Gary. Viniyoga Therapy for the Low Back, Sacrum and Hips.
Kraftsow, Gary. Viniyoga Therapy for the Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders.
Rothenberg, Robin. The Essential Low Back Program: Relieve Pain and Restore Health.
© 2020. Margy Smariga. All rights reserved.