Viniyoga

T. K. V. Desikachar is Krishnamacharya’s son. He teaches yoga and carries on the traditions of his father at the school named in honor of his father, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, in Madras, India. Desikachar has pioneered medical research with yoga on conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, asthma, and diabetes. His style of hatha yoga is an individualized, step-by-step approach called viniyoga. The emphasis in viniyoga is twofold. It recognizes the uniqueness of the individual and creates an approach using all the tools of yoga, including asana, chanting, pranayama, and meditation, and it teaches the yoga practitioner how to apply these tools in individual practice. The approach is relaxed and the pace is gentle. Viniyoga’s strength is that it modifies postures to the needs of the individual student. A profound awareness of the breath is central in viniyoga, and inhalation and exhalation are stressed a great deal throughout a class. The asana become an expression of the breath. If the breath is strong and flowing, so is the body. There is less stress on the joints and knees in viniyoga compared to some other types of hatha yoga because the postures are done with slightly bent knees. An overall sense of well-being predominates in viniyoga classes. Viniyoga is beginning to be used in therapeutic environments.

There is no clear consensus on exactly how many yoga asana there actually are. The original yogis cited eighty-four asana. The Yoga Asana Center in New York puts out a chart that shows more than nine hundred asana.

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