Frequently Asked Questions

Viniyoga Foundations Program for Teaching & Yoga Therapy


Questions about the program?  You aren't alone...
Email Dona Robinson, AVI Student Advisor. If you need to talk with a faculty member, Dona will connect you with the training coordinator.

Who attends the AVI Viniyoga Foundations Program for Teaching and Yoga Therapy?

Students with a wide range of yoga and yoga teaching experience attend the Viniyoga Foundations Program. Some students have never taught yoga and attend our program to deepen their knowledge of Viniyoga and to begin their teaching careers.

Many of our students are experienced yoga teachers who have completed other yoga teacher training programs and wish to complete the 300 hour Advanced Studies Option to become RYT-500 eligible or prepare for the Viniyoga Therapist Training. Experienced teachers attend the program to immerse themselves in the Viniyoga approach, deepen their knowledge and experience of yoga and refine their teaching skills.

Licensed or registered health professionals who are interested in integrating Yoga Therapy into their professional practice but aren't interested in teaching groups or advanced asana have the 300 hour Health Professional Option to help prepare for the AVI Viniyoga Therapist Training.

Students who are interested in the program for deepening their personal practice and knowledge of Viniyoga attend the 300 hour Advanced Viniyoga Studies option. If an interest in teaching develops during the course of the training, complete all training requirements and Session #4 to be certified as a Viniyoga Teacher and be RYT-500 eligible with Yoga Alliance.
Who are the main teachers?

The primary teachers are Gary Kraftsow, AVI Founder and Director, and Mirka Scalco Kraftsow, AVI Director of Teacher Development. Both GARY and MIRKA have extensive experience in Yoga and Yoga teacher training and have Yoga Alliance ERYT-500 designation.

Gary Kraftsow, MA, E-RYT 500 has been actively training Yoga teachers since 1984, and has been offering the AVI Yoga Teacher Training Program since 1999. He is a master level teacher and a trainer of Viniyoga Teachers and Yoga Therapists. He has been actively involved as a practitioner of Viniyoga for over 30 years.

Students at the training benefit from his presence and many years of experience as a teacher, Yoga Therapist, trainer of teachers and Yoga Therapists in the Viniyoga methodology and author of Yoga for Wellness, Yoga for Transformation, Viniyoga Therapy for Low Back, Sacrum and Hips DVD, Viniyoga Therapy for Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders DVD, and Chanting Live with Gary Kraftsow CD. Gary is directly involved in the training on a daily basis and is the main lecturer. He has certified over 180 teachers and has many more students who are currently in the training process. For a complete list of AVI certified Yoga teachers, Yoga Therapists and students in training, please check the Teacher and Yoga Therapist directory.

Mirka Scalco-Kraftsow, E-RYT 500, AVI Director of Teacher Development, has been teaching in the Viniyoga methodology since 1981 and practicing Yoga Therapy since 1988. She has helped hundreds of individuals develop and maintain a personal practice and manage challenging personal and therapeutic conditions.  She has a unique ability to mentor and support students in their personal and professional growth. Mirka's philosophy is comprehensive; all aspects of practice - physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual - are addressed in her morning practice sessions. Mirka believes this creates not only a balanced practice, but also a balanced life. Mirka lectures, provides individual assistance to students and leads daily integration practices.
What is the experience level of the faculty?

Individual assistance to students is provided through mentors who are experienced AVI-trained Viniyoga teachers and Yoga Therapists carefully selected by Gary because of their skill, expertise and experience. Mentors teach some portions of program sessions, lead small groups, meet with students about their home study, and maintain contact with students between program sessions.
How can I prepare to enter the Viniyoga Foundations Program for Teaching and Yoga Therapy?

We strongly recommend that students new to the Viniyoga approach attend a seminar or retreat with Gary Kraftsow or Mirka Scalco Kraftsow before attending the first program session.

Ten Ways to Get Ready for the Training:
  1. Commit to a personal practice. It's the most important way to begin to integrate what you will learn in the training.
  2. Attend a seminar or retreat with Gary Kraftsow or Mirka Scalco Kraftsow
  3. Attend classes or workshops with a Viniyoga teacher or AVI Yoga Therapist
  4. Work one-on-one with a local Viniyoga teacher or AVI Yoga Therapist
  5. Read Yoga for Wellness and Yoga for Transformation by Gary Kraftsow
  6. Review the lectures and do the practices (if it is appropriate for your body) on Gary Kraftsow's DVDs: Viniyoga Therapy for Low Back, Sacrum and Hips and Viniyoga Therapy for Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders.
  7. Do the practices designed by Gary Kraftsow (if it is appropriate for your body) on the Yoga Away DVDs: 1) The Workout, 2) Finding Focus, 3) Stress Reduction, 4) A Good Night. Order from www.yogaaway.com.
  8. Visit the Viniyoga Facebook page to listen to audio and video from Gary Kraftsow lectures.
  9. Sign up for the AVI quarterly newsletter and Viniyoga Mini-Lectures.
  10. Check our website on a regular basis for new events in your area and availability of audio lectures and practices.

What is the structure of the AVI Viniyoga Foundations Program for Teaching and Yoga Therapy?

The program includes three or four 11 day residential sessions over 18 months. In addition, there is guided home study between program sessions.

The structure of our training is different than many other 300 or 500 hour Yoga teacher training programs. A new training group begins approximately every two years.

Most students who enroll in a training program stay with the same faculty and student group for the three or four-session program. In our experience, a cohesive training group forms and students actively work to support each others learning process, both during and between program sessions.

Lifelong friendships and professional relationships form over the course of 18 months. Students also develop relationships with mentors who can continue to be a source for additional study and support as their teaching or personal development path unfolds.


Can the program sessions be taken out of order?

Our program sessions build upon each other and we recommend that you try to take the sessions in the order they are offered. Students who cannot attend a specific training session generally make up the program session the next time the missed program session is offered. We may recommend some additional work or study to be adequately prepared if a session is missed.


What is a "typical" day in a program session?

The program includes three or four 11 day residential sessions over 18 months. In addition, there is guided home study between program sessions.

Each program session begins with an evening orientation followed by five training days, a day off and then five and one-half more training days.

Each training day is full and includes 8 - 10 hours of lectures, practice, and small group experiences.

A typical day begins with an early morning practice followed by breakfast, a three-hour morning session, a lunch break and a three-hour afternoon session and a 1 - 2 hour early evening session.

We have one scheduled day off in each 11 day session. Students use the days off to rest, study and complete training assignments.


Where is the training program held?

The East Coast training program is held at Yogaville in Buckingham Virginia. Please see yogaville.org for more information.

The West coast training program is held at Mount Madonna Center in Watsonville, California. Most of our students stay at Mount Madonna Center during the training because of the early morning to early evening schedule. A commuter option is also available. Please see mountamadonna.org for more information.


Is the AVI Viniyoga Foundations Program registered with Yoga Alliance?

Yes. The VFP programs are approved by Yoga Alliance at the 300 and 500 hour level.


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