If you’re an experienced yogi, you probably know most of the common yoga styles. But have you heard of Viniyoga? The predecessor of Ashtanga or Iyengar, Viniyoga is a very powerful yoga practice. The main purpose of Viniyoga teachings is to introduce practitioners to the voice within. It is not as structured as other styles of yoga where you take the cue from a yoga teacher. Instead, the practitioner must let their body guide them. It’s like Yin and Yang, push and pull, give and take. You search for balance by being in tune with your body. The name of the practice suggests just that, with ‘vi‘ and ‘ni‘ fusing together to reveal differentiation and adaptation. Viniyoga is a holistic practice that aligns with the Yoga Sutras. Although our bodies and minds are alike, we do not all have the same experiences or reactions. This is why typically the practice is either 1-to-1 or in a small group. During the practice, the instructor must pay close attention to the tiniest of details to help tailor the practice to the students.
The practice was born thanks to Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, a wise guru that spent most of his life studying the yoga scriptures of different origins. Several famous yogis began or continued their journey under his guidance, including those that would go on to create modern branches of yoga. After over 100 years of peaceful existence in this world, his teachings were continued by his son, who also shares this practice with the masses. It wasn’t until two American yoga instructors trained with the founder’s son that the ideas made their way into the Western world. The practice lost many of its spiritual elements during its evolution. As a result, it is now taught alongside physical therapy to help people reconnect with their bodies. Viniyoga teachers have to be knowledgeable, experienced, and well-trained to be able to offer expert advice based on the body’s responses to particular stimuli.
The number one benefit of this practice is the acute awareness of the physical body. It encourages the student to pay close attention to responses to asanas and movement. In short, practicing Viniyoga teaches the language of the body. Because it is tailored to suit each individual rather than a group, it has several therapeutic advantages. Therefore, Viniyoga practice can help people with verious conditions from arthritis to allergies. Regular Viniyoga practitioners will notice increased flexibility and balance, while learning what works for their body. They should also notice a more mindful approach to life and perhaps a change towards a moderately-paced lifestyle. Other benefits of this practice include enhanced coordination, increased energy, and overall a healthier and more positive outlook on life. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you should definitely give Viniyoga a try! There is a reason why this magnificent practice is still alive to this day!