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Viniyoga is a therapeutic form of yoga that focuses on integrating breath and movement to bring awareness into the body and increased flexibility to the spine. In Sanskrit, the word “Viniyoga” means “appropriate action in a given context”. Thus, this gentle style of yoga promotes function over form, encouraging adaptation of the poses to help safely effect positive change in your body.
In addition to the physical benefits, the breathwork (pranayama) taught in Viniyoga can be helpful in relieving symptoms of stress and anxiety, bringing focus to the mind and providing a sense of balance and calm.
Viniyoga is also the only form of yoga recognized by the National Institute of Health as being effective for relieving chronic back pain (when practiced regularly).
We offer private one-on-one sessions, custom designed classes for your group, and sessions combining therapeutic massage and yoga.
What makes Viniyoga different from other styles of yoga?
Viniyoga is different from other styles of yoga in a number of ways:
1) Use of Repetition and Stay
We use repetition (moving in and out of a pose) combined with stay (staying in the pose after proper preparation). Repetition increases circulation to the muscles, and alternately contracts opposing muscles (agonist & antagonist) as we move in and out of the pose. It also has neuromuscular benefits, helping to establish more beneficial movement patterns over time. Extended stay in a pose after some repetition allows easier lengthening of the muscles (they’re warmed up) and helps to release the fascia, or connective tissue. It brings the intention of the pose into the body.
2) Adaptation of poses – “Function over Form”
Instead of believing that each pose has only one precise form, in Viniyoga we teach that there are multiple forms of any pose and adapting the form of the pose will produce different effects for each person. We focus on the intention (or function) of the pose and then adapt the pose in order to suit the needs of the body. This helps to achieve functional benefit from the poses, and also helps to avoid injury from trying to conform to an idealized form that could be damaging to your body.
3) Moving with the breath
We link each movement with the breath, and use the breath to both protect the spine and to mobilize it.The conscious use of the respiratory muscles such as the diaphragm and intercostals while breathing enables you to create axial extension (the lengthening of your spine) and increase intervertebral spacing (getting the vertebrae in your back to move apart from each other). Focusing on your breath helps link your awareness to the mobilization of your spine. In certain poses, attention to the breath can help protect the low back from injury. Conscious breathing brings your awareness into your body, helping you find the intention of the poses more easily and also helping to avoid injury throughout your body.
Viniyoga uses very detailed principles of sequencing that determines how we put the asanas (poses) together into a practice. Each pose is viewed in relation to the poses around it, and also in relation to the intention of the overall practice. For instance, a sequence of poses that causes low back pain in a student can often be placed in a different order to help improve their low back symmetry and strength – changing the combination of poses can change the effect.