Awakening To Awareness
Many people who have practiced other styles of yoga say that Viniyoga is different. You have to pay attention. You have to be aware. It’s not the same sequence of postures every time or one size fits all yoga. There is active participation of attention in the process of awakening to who you are.
First and foremost through attention, Viniyoga awakens the practitioner to the breath, and then through the flow of the breath to the movement of the spine, and then to the movement of the spine in postures. (We gratefully acknowledge our teacher, Gary Kraftsow, MA, E-RYT 500, for this paraphrased sutra about this relationship between attention, awareness, the breath and the spine.)
The postures are not the goal. The postures provide tools for understanding what’s happening in your body. Where do you hold tension? What’s tight? What’s weak? Where is there pain or dysfunction in a joint?
It’s by using movement in and out of postures that we can become aware of the condition of the major joints and muscles. It’s by movement in and out of postures that we can begin to release tightly contracted muscles, improve movement patterns, and create stability. The beauty of the Viniyoga approach to asana practice is that it can be individualized for your unique challenges.
The practice can be adapted to help create specific effects for a variety of interests or needs including to: impact a challenging condition, increase strength, achieve a more difficult posture in time (such as shoulderstand or headstand), create an energetic effect, prepare for a breath practice or meditation, or compensate or prepare for other activities (such as a golf game or bike ride).
Whether you’re practicing Viniyoga in one of our classes or through private work with us, we’re interested in having the practice help you awaken to awareness. No auto pilot…just pure awareness.
Mary Hilliker, RD, E-RYT 500, CYT is a Certified Viniyoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist with River Flow Yoga, LLC in Wausau, WI and faculty with the American Viniyoga Institute.