by David Nathan
Viniyoga is less a style of yoga, but rather a methodology that comes from a tradition of the Nath order of Yogis dating back thousands of years. The term Viniyoga comes from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and means “using, or applying”. The essence of Viniyoga lies in the adaptation of the practice to the individual and not the application of the individual to the practice.
This key insight asserts that the tools of Yoga including postures (Asana), breathing exercises (Pranayama); meditation (Dhyana); chanting, sound, personal ritual, and study are there only for the individual to apply and adapt to help one transform or change in a particular direction. This requires an individual to identify an intention for practice and discern how to intelligently apply the principles and practices of Yoga based on their needs, goals, aspirations, and interests. The vehicle by which one measures their internal condition in order to identify an intention for practice is the breath. The breath is the barometer by which one begins to understand the body mind and is the barometer by which one measures change. When applying and adapting Yoga, one must take into account one?s age, gender, time, place, constitution and abilities.
This tradition of Yoga was developed by the late yoga master Sri Krishnamacharya and further developed by his son T.K.V. Desikachar. Viniyoga tradition thrives and grows today and is taught by leading proponents including, but not limited to, S. Ramaswami, Gary Kraftsow, Sonia Nelson, and Martin Peirce.