Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Ugly Yoga: Beyond Poses

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Spirituality, yoga, Viniyoga, Ugly Yoga, Yoga Joyful Living,

For many people, yoga is like calisthenics: Do the poses, get your workout, and forget about it until the next class. This approach is flawed, according to Gary Kraftsow, founder of the American Viniyoga Institute. Kraftsow’s approach, Anna Dubrovsky writes for Yoga + Joyful Living, is that “yoga isn’t about getting to know the postures. It’s about getting to know yourself.” 

Rather than forcing people into the same poses, Kraftsow’s style adjusts the yoga to a person’s individual needs. The focus of instruction starts with breathing and chanting, with poses coming in later. Kraftsow calls it Viniyoga, a Sanskrit word referring to “adaptation,” according to Dubrovsky, while others call it “ugly yoga.” 

The low-impact, individualized method of Viniyoga makes it ideally suited for some types of therapy. Kraftsow had a tumor removed from his brain in 2004, and he credits yoga as fundamental in his recovery. He’s also assisted in studies on the benefits of yoga for chronic back pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Source: Yoga + Joyful Living

jocelyn_2
12/9/2009 11:46:19 PM

First I wanted to say, that it is wonderful that there are sensitive teachers like Jocelyn that understand how much courage it takes for overweight women to go to any fitness class, let alone yoga. A yoga class, in my opinion, should be a gathering of indiduals doing individual excercises under guidance and not a race of who can hold the most difficult position the longest, which is unfortunately how many of the classes I have been to have been. Competition goes against the whole nature of yoga. Having been subject to the rolled eyes and disgusted look of skinny classmates when asking how to modify something so that I could keep up, I know how hard it is. You only ask a few times before you feel intimidated, and at some point you end up staying away from it. http://www.spiritualarticle.com Thankfully, I have found a teacher like Jocelyn who only takes on 5 students per class. I’ve been in this class for 2 years, and the other girls in it have become friends. That makes it so much more enjoyable!


jocelyn_2
12/9/2009 11:43:33 PM

Thankfully, I have found a teacher like Jocelyn who only takes on 5 students per class. I’ve been in this class for 2 years, and the other girls in it have become friends. That makes it so much more enjoyable! http://www.spiritualarticle.com


raga sajani
4/17/2009 9:20:18 PM

I find the concept of "adaptability" so beautiful, as yoga in any form, whether a physical, spiritual or devotional (Bhakti Yoga) act should be shared and made accessible to anyone who welcomes it. My practice was developed through modification of poses and the communion of my body and spirit, as a journey towards awakening. Yoga is a gateway and a path towards one's spiritual learning, and I hope that it's reach would not be limited to a select few. Thank you for sharing with us - love and blessings, Raga Sajani www.GlobalOne.tv