Generalized Yoga Therapy Training: Viniyoga

The American Viniyoga Institute was founded by Gary Kraftsow, a leading proponent of yoga therapy in the U.S. The yoga taught at the American Viniyoga is inspired by the teachings of Indian yoga masters T.K.V. Desikachar and T. Krishnamacharya, with whom Kraftsow studied for a number of years.

The term Viniyoga is an ancient Sanskrit term, which implies adaptation, and appropriate application, and it was first was first used by T. K. V. Desikachar to describe his conviction that a yoga practice should not be a one-size-fits-all,  but rather be adapted to fit each individual’s specific needs and situation.

Accordingly, the yoga therapy training at the American Viniyoga Institute centers on train yoga therapists to bring out the best in each client by first understanding the person’s present condition and modifying yoga asanas accordingly. As a result, a Viniyoga practice involves a more relaxed approach to yoga poses, emphasizing modifications that meet the needs of individual students.  Viniyoga therapy offers a gentle yoga practice, often emphasizing the breath and lengthening of the spine to increase the practice’s therapeutic benefits.

The yoga therapy certification offered at the American Viniyoga Institute offers a generalized yoga therapy training. After certification, a Viniyoga therapist  should be able to work with a diverse range of clients, dealing with everything from common aches, pains, injuries and chronic conditions, to the specialized needs of pregnant women, athletes and performers.  

In most instances, the emphasis is on movement led by the breath to enhance energy and balance. While yoga therapy courses stress the importance of individual requirements and interests, graduates are expected to acquire the skills necessary to teach all levels of students. Though Viniyoga is often offered as private, therapeutic yoga, yoga therapists trained in Viniyoga may also apply the practice in health, education and group fitness professions.

There are two prerequisites to the American Viniyoga Institute’s Therapist Training Program: successful completion of AVI’s Yoga Teacher Training Program, as well as 50 hours of anatomy study. The yoga therapy training program itself requires three training sessions that are fourteen days in length and approximately 550 hours total of pre-training study, home study, contact and clinical time. Sessions include lectures, yoga practices that are focused on clinical application, case demonstrations, small group work and guided independent study. Students work with yoga therapy clients and complete home study assignments between program sessions.

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