Friday, March 2, 2012

What is Viniyoga?

Think of Apples.... there are many types of apples. Green apples, red delicious apples, pink lady apples and more but they're all still apples right?!

Yoga styles are like apples.

Each style has a different texture, flavor, if you will, but each style is still Yoga. For example- Bikram Yoga (often referred to as hot Yoga) is done in a hot room, with cetrain postures and sequencing; still Yoga, but with distinct "flavor".

Viniyoga has 4 distinct “flavors”.

Viniyoga revolves around linking breath and movement, in a meditative way or a strengthening kick ass way. In some Yoga styles- you focus on your inhale filling your belly then your chest. Here we aim to fill the from the collar bones first, then the chest and at the end of the inhale to soften the belly. Each exhale- you'll be coached to pull your belly in (navel to spine) as you release your exhale.

This facilitates the natural movement of breath in the spine in each pose. As you breathe in- your rib cage will rise (encouraging backbends, coming up from a forward bend etc.) As you breathe out, pulling the belly in tight- you are creating stability in your sacrum and low back area (encouraging forward folds, twists etc.)

Viniyoga practice is highly adaptable making the postures (breath work, meditation, self study and ritual practice) work for the practitioner- You! We are not all built the same. My forward bend may "look" different than my neighbor's but the function of the pose (stretching the low back and/or hamstrings) is emphasized over the "perfect form".

Another “flavor” unique to Viniyoga is the use of repetition and stay in a posture. By moving repeatedly, in and out, of your standing forward bend for example, you are re-establishing/ re-setting your habitual patterns of movement. Want to improve your posture? Practice Tadasana/ Mountain pose 3X a day for 12 breaths. Repetition in and out of postures also helps to prepare muscles for stays and releases accumulated stress, tightness, and stiffness. 
Stays in poses help stretch and/ or build strength. Stays are a beautiful place to pay attention to your breath. Restorative postures use the element of breath and meditation. Staying in child's pose for several minutes with your awareness on your breath, on the sensation of breath in the body and guided imagery that you enjoy can even be healing- flooding the entire body with feelings of ease and peace. Yoga Nidra practice is done lying down, an alert savasana with the senses wide open- the deepest form of relaxation.

Finally ~ Sequencing. Each Viniyoga practice is carefully sequenced with practices (including one or all: asana, pranayama, meditation, self study & ritual) to bring about a specific result. It could be to energize the body, prepare for sleep, reduce anxiety, recover from an injury or re-establish your balance. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Cumulative Practice created to fit you is a beautiful way to become more aware of your own body from within. You are your own guru! Linking your breath and movement takes awareness and practice. Asana may prepare you for meditation or breath work. Incorporate your meditation or breath work into asana. Kick some self study aspects & philospohies in - are you able to control the random fluctuations of the mind? Wanna take on your monkey mind?

Yoga Practice is made to fit it's Practitioner. Listen to who matters most (damn straight I mean You!) how does your body feel right now... how does your mind feel right now... Begin and continue bringing your awareness to your breath - where's it at now- take 3 breaths now and check it out... is it shallow or is it filling the entire torso with glorious breath? Check in with yourself - daily, upon waking/ sleeping, doing, being, listening, talking (waiting your turn to talk), practicing, teaching, speaking, relating...

There are many great Yoga styles and flavors. Viniyoga's outlined form, as taught to me, (as taught to her teacher, as taught by his teacher, as taught to the son of the man, Krishnamacharya, who established this lineage or form) influences my "flavor" as a Practitioner and as a teacher. It makes me ready to welcome this life, with arms wide open, as it changes, waxes and wanes, and breathes as my Practice (and my own teaching style) grow with me along my journey of Life.

Several forms were created with Viniyoga as a base and then some twists and spritzes of cool were spread in from each teacher that studied with this master, including BKS Iyengar (Iyengar Yoga) and Ashtanga's Pattabhi Jois. Find out what styles of Yoga speak more or resonate more with you. Do an internet search, pick up some books, take a class, see what speaks to you. Practice alone makes you find out for yourself. Don't believe what I say just because it's written in cyberspace with credentials. This is part of the practice.

Find out for yourself. See, learn, explore all that's already right there. Tired of grasping for things, pleasure, love, acceptance? Practice teaches you how to listen, to see things as they are and how to ultimately apply these learnings to your Life in this world. 

Yoga Empowered is a representation of Viniyoga core with empowerment, mindfulness and living fully as a definite undertone. Create your own Practice to bring You to Your Best Self - to being your best self. Who is this best Self? It's up to you to decide... I just point to the stars!

.: return to your breath :.