Viniyoga: breathing and movement
Viniyoga is a unique approach to yoga that adapts several aspects of the practice to each individual and stimulates the link between breath and movement.
“Viniyoga is hatha yoga, that is, the yoga of postures and breathing. And Viniyoga means ‘Yoga adapts to the person, not the person to Yoga’. It is a therapeutic style, as the sequences and postures are not ‘one size fits all’, but personalised”, explains Rachel Rose, instructor of Mind & Body disciplines at SHA Wellness Clinic.
If yoga is perfect for any health programme, here we are talking about a system with a very clear teaching method in which postures and breathing are developed progressively. It is the embodiment of the teachings of the yogi Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, considered the father of modern Yoga.
Gentle and slow, deep and meditative
“The careful attention to the link between breath and movement is what makes Viniyoga unique. It is gentle and slow, yet deep and meditative. It benefits both young and old, precisely because of its ability to adapt to the abilities and needs of the student”, stresses Rachel Rose.
Personalised treatment is the basis of an optimal health plan. And with Viniyoga, which is synonymous with health, something similar happens: in the individualised sessions, the teacher assesses the student and designs a plan specifically adapted to that individual so that maximum possible benefits are gained.
The asanas (postures) are the same as those found in any other style of Yoga, but with one important caveat: they are performed differently.
Thus, the postures are not entered directly, but progressively. It is important to warm up the muscles with repetitive movements and then enter and hold the posture. The sequences are also different depending on the assessment and the objectives to be worked on during the session.
As mentioned, another of the most interesting and distinctive features of Viniyoga is the breathing. The breathing changes with each movement during the sessions, coordinating inhalation and exhalation in harmony with the moves. There are several repetitions of the same movement, coordinating breathing and warming up muscles, before entering the posture and holding it.
A type of yoga that is pure SHA
The benefits of Viniyoga are extraordinary. “It is a discipline that significantly enhances mental and emotional stability. It leaves the student feeling very calm, alert and relaxed”, says Rachel Rose.
Every Viniyoga session involves a meditation in movement and its approach to asana is never painful. Viniyoga is also flexible in terms of personal practice.
“We find it best to do short, but consistent sessions. That makes a difference with other types that often insist on 90-minute sessions, a length of time that is difficult for many people to sustain”, says the SHA Wellness Clinic expert.
Another of the major benefits of Viniyoga is that it makes no distinctions: it is suitable for everyone because it adapts to the needs and abilities of the student.
“The way it fits into the student’s life—the postures themselves, the length of time and time of day, the inclusion of pranayama and meditation—makes Viniyoga a part of everyday life. Without needing to ‘be a yogi’, we can practice yoga and reap its benefits”, says Rachel Rose.
Viniyoga fits SHA’s raison d’être like a glove. In the Mind & Body department, we find that the vast majority of our guests know how to take care of themselves and already have fitness programmes in place, but at the same time they often suffer from stress, insomnia and anxiety, as well as jet lag due to frequent travel.
This variant of yoga helps these guests feel more relaxed, engage in meditation and settle into conscious breathing. It is an excellent ‘first contact’ with Yoga and meditation.
“It allows us to create short sequences for guests who want to continue the practice at home. As many guests repeat a few times a year, we can follow up from one visit to the next to encourages further practice”, concludes Rachel Rose.