The Art and Science of Adaptation in the Viniyoga Tradition

Thursday, June 16, 2011 -

We use the term Viniyoga to refer to an approach to Yoga that adapts the various means and methods of practice to the unique condition, needs and interests of each individual - giving each practitioner the tools to individualize and actualize the process of self-discovery and personal transformation.  Mirka Scalco Kraftsow demonstrated the Viniyoga principle of adaptation in her workshop for yoga teachers, "Therapeutic Applications for Neck, Back and Hips" at River Garden Yoga Studio in St. Paul, MN on June 15, 2011. 

Mirka started the workshop with a discussion about the nature of healing with a challenge to all in attendance to consider the comprehensiveness of the ancient yoga teachings to address healing at many different dimensions of being.  She skillfully led yoga teachers through practices for low back and upper back/neck/shoulders that demonstrated several key principles of Viniyoga, including combining breath with movement, repetition and stay, and adaptation.  Mirka's refined art of adaptation in the Viniyoga tradition was welcomed by those in attention as a gift of awareness and healing.

Mirka worked with 3 different yoga teachers who were in attendance at the workshop.  Here is a brief summary of her work with each yoga teacher:

Example #1 - Kyphosis:  Mirka worked with the Viniyoga posture, cakravakasana, to help this teacher stretch upper back muscles that were difficult for her to access with classical forms of postures. 

Example #2 - Scoliosis:  Again, Mirka used the posture, cakravakasana, to demonstrate adaptations that were helpful to this particular teacher to stretch tightly contracted muscles that were a reality of her condition.  Mirka discussed the importance of balancing asymmetrical postures with symmetrical postures. 

Example #3 - Low Back/Hip Pain:  Mirka used several supine postures and adaptations of the postures to address tracking and alignment in the feet, ankles, knees and hips and to promote stability in the low back and hips. 

The foundational principles of adaptation in the Viniyoga tradition are a key part of the Viniyoga Foundations Program for Teaching and Yoga Therapy (500 hour Advanced Viniyoga Teacher Training/300 hour Viniyoga Studies/300 hour Health Professional Option).  Further refinement of Viniyoga adaptation is taught in the Viniyoga Therapist Training. 

Mirka is Director of Teacher Development for the American Viniyoga Institute.  She is faculty for the Viniyoga Foundations Program for Teaching and Yoga Therapy that starts July 24, 2011 at Mount Madonna Center.  She is also leading a Viniyoga Home Study Course starting this September.  Check the Events section of the website or contact AVI at for more information. 

Mirka is teaching the workshop, Yoga in Your Everyday Life:  Working with the Yamas and Niyamas, in Minneapolis, MN from June 16 - 20, 2011.  There are a few slots available in the workshop.  Call 651-697-0127 for more information. 

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