My experience of the application, or viniyoga of Yoga as a personalised practice, study and teaching methodology was formed by a 23 year apprenticeship through intensive immersions in one to one lessons, from numerous visits to Madras in South India, learning Yoga under my root teacher TKV Desikachar.
“Yoga must be adapted to an individuals needs, expectations and possibilities,
rather than adapting an individuals needs, expectations and possibilities to Yoga.”
The outcome of this sustained immersion in the teachings of TKV Desikachar’s teacher, Śrī T Krishnamacharya, is that the viniyoga of Yoga can only be effectively realised through one to one personal lessons, supported by Yoga textual and theory study groups, limited to a small number of students.
“The viniyoga of Yoga is a process rather than just a collection of techniques.”
However teaching lessons within a personal context remained at the heart of Krishnamacharya’s and Desikachar’s teaching throughout their lives and it still remains the vital element in appreciating what the term viniyoga means in terms of a systematic development of the students experience of Yoga.
”Like everything, Yoga must be presented intelligently.
It should be spoken of carefully and offered according to the aspiration, requirement
and the culture of the individual. This should be done in stages.
Systematic application of Yoga – be it concerned with physical exercises,
deep breathing, relaxation, meditation, lifestyle, food, studies – is the need of the day.
This I believe – is what the word viniyoga represents.”
- TKV Desikachar 1983
A Development Structure for a Personalised Yoga Practice and Study Sādhana involves:
- Āsana practice and theory
- Prāṇāyāma practice and theory
- Mudrā practice and theory
- Dhyānam practice and theory
- Adhyayanam (chanting as learning or meditation) practice and theory
This needs to be supported by a Personalised Textual and Oral Study Sādhana involving:
- Experiential application of the principles in the Haṭha Yoga texts emphasised by Krishnamacharya.
- Experiential application of the Yoga Sūtra through an in-depth exploration as a self-inquiry.
- Guidance with linking Indian texts emphasised by Krishnamacharya with Yoga study and practice.
- Guidance with linking Krishnamacharya’s writings and compositions with Yoga study and practice.
- Experiential self-study of the core constitutional, diagnostic and lifestyle principles in Āyurveda.