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What is Viniyoga Pedagogy?

Viniyoga is one of the most well-known and popular forms of yoga, just like Hatha yoga, iyengar yoga or ashtanga yoga for example. Popularized by Sri Krishnamacharya and his son Desikachar in the course of the 20th century, it is a specific pedagogy of yoga which, like many similar practices, has its share of benefits and specificities.

The origins of Viniyoga

In Sanskrit, Viniyoga means classical yoga and therefore belongs to classical yoga practices. This name was given to him because his great principles come from the fundamental texts. Since the 80s, it is very often associated with meditation, even if Krishnamacharya has expanded this notion by linking it to asanas (postures therefore), sutras and pranayama.

The fundamental principles of this classical yoga

The principle that best summarizes this quite traditional yoga is that it is not the person who must adapt to yoga but yoga must adapt to the person. This was the favourite phrase of Sri Krishnamacharya, a great thinker of Viniyoga at the beginning of the 20th century.

At that time, yoga was not as widespread as it is today, but the vision of this great master was already undisputed. Together with his son, TKV Desikachar, they were convinced that yoga should be accessible to all, and that is why they began teaching viniyoga from the 1970s in Europe and America. Gary Kraftsow, an American follower of TKV Desikachar, created the American Viniyoga Institute to help in personal transformation through yoga therapy and yoga philosophy.

However, it is a much older yoga that has origins that can go back to the 9th century, to the time of Nathamuni and the acharya lineage.

Practice action yoga without problems

Our experts strongly advise to practice Viniyoga in group or individual classes, with a teacher training, for the beginning at least. For you, they took the time to talk about the typical Viniyoga group sessions as they experienced hundreds of them.

The fundamental principle here will be to coordinate the breathing exercises with the movements, while knowing that the postures are practiced in dynamic, then in static.

For the group course, it takes into account the abilities of each one, and the session is built gradually so as not to hurt oneself during the more demanding postures.

The final objective of the typical session will be to arrive at a state of meditation, which is achieved with postural and respiratory work, also called chanting meditation. By force, the mind will be greatly soothed, thanks to your breathing which is a very effective and underrated tool in most people.

The specificities of Viniyoga

As we explain more, the basic principle is that it is yoga that must adapt to the person, and not the other way around. That’s why we can say that Viniyoga is an adapting approach to yoga. To do this, you must first find yourself a yoga club, and meet the assigned viniyoga teacher.

At the end of this interview, the method that best suits you will be established. Different criteria are then taken into account by the teacher: your age, your place of living (village, city, etc.), your lifestyle (physical activity, lifestyle, goals, etc.), your profession as well as everything that results from it (stress, overtime, workload, etc.), your physical state, your emotional state, etc.

These are points that will make it possible to draw up your profile of yogi, and thus to find the technique of Viniyoga that will do you the most good.

The technique therefore adapts to each one, and each of them includes asanas as well as breathing techniques such as Kapalabhati for example.. Breathing/movement coordination is a key point in Viniyoga.

The benefits of Viniyoga

As with any well-executed yoga, Viniyoga brings many benefits, whether physically or mentally. This technique focuses on better stress management, on energy alignment, which is more often found in meditation or breathing exercises such as uddiyana bandha.

You will also find better sleep, which is the key to success, combined with good nutrition. Your heart rate will also be put to work, and it will enjoy a better harmony, as will your breathing.

All this will, in the long term, impact your personal development and your daily joy of living. No more gloom and depressions, you will only see positive from now on!


It is true that Viniyoga is still a rather vague subject despite the great popularity that it has in the collective imagination, because many people do not know that it is a form of yoga that adapts to yogis. That is why, in this article, we have developed this aspect to the maximum so that, for your part, you can take an interest in it and go to your yoga club to practice it.

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