Ugly Yoga: Beyond Poses

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

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