WHAT IS VINIYOGA?
It is the process [of yoga] and your understanding of how the process is working in you that matter.
Defining any yoga style can be difficult, especially given all of the Western twists being put on the original yogic traditions today. A new student coming to yoga can be completely overwhelmed. The most noteworthy characteristic of Viniyoga is that the student is the most important piece of the puzzle, not the yoga. Unlike other traditions, Viniyoga becomes a set of individual tools one can turn to when they feel the need. In other traditions, a class is taught and poses are explained in great anatomical detail. The idea being that the practitioner will be able to take and hold each posture exactly or almost exactly as the posture has been explained. In Viniyoga, the posture is manipulated to fit the practitioner. Therefore, the posture serves the student rather that the other way around.
Another key difference between Viniyoga and other traditions is the length of a sequence or session. Viniyoga is taught with the student's identified goal or intention in mind. A set of postures is used along with breath adaptation to accomplish the predetermined goal of the session. The whole body is not dealt with in one sequence and the entire practice can range from 15 minutes up to 45 minutes. It is the practicioner's choice.
Thirdly, I believe Viniyoga practitioners feel “taken care of”. My own yoga journey began long before finding Viniyoga. The reason I was drawn so strongly to Viniyoga is because it made me feel the most wholly taken care of. I felt the classes were safer and more effective without the negative effects I felt in some other traditions I had been exposed to. It is the first place I have found that really defines what yoga is to me and what it is capable of doing for someone who learns to utilize it.
According to my teacher, Gary Kraftsow and the Viniyoga lineage, "...Yoga is a tradition founded on a recognition that our physical condition, emotional states, attitudes, dietary and behavioral patterns, lifestyle and personal associations, and the environment in which we live and work are all intimately linked to each other and to the state of our health."