Viniyoga is a form of yoga where breath and mindfulness play a central role, guiding and inspiring each movement. Poses are explored through repetitions and stays, symmetry and asymmetry, as well as adaptations to meet particular needs. Sequences are designed for safety, strength and flexibility in addition to restoration, relaxation, and meditation.
There are four characteristics that distinguish Viniyoga from other styles of yoga. They are: movement with breath, repetition and stay, function over form, and asana sequencing. Here is a summary of each characteristic:
Movement with Breath
The breath impacts all systems of the body and in yoga it serves as the medium for movement. This creates a fluidity of motion that connects the mind, body, and spirit. While in a pose the breath is used to enhance the effect of the pose on the body and in meditation the breath serves to deepen the experience.
Repetition & S
Done in concert with the breath, moving in and out of a pose prepares the body to stay in the pose and more effectively receive the benefits of the pose. Repetitions increase circulation to muscles, re-patterns movement habits (neuromuscular reintegration) and
Function Over Form
The purpose of a pose is to serve the practitioner and not to look a certain way. Thus the emphasis is on the function of the pose (i.e. stretch in the low back) versus the form of the pose. Appropriate form will vary from person to person based on individual needs and abilities.
Sequencing is important for performance and safety. Detailed principles are used in designing each sequence of poses. A sequence will prepare the body, stabilize vulnerable areas, balance imbalances and restore the body back to neutral. Such asana sequencing increases safety and prevents injuries.