Viniyoga is yoga adapted to serve you.

  • Heal your body
  • Cultivate vitality
  • Nourish your mind
  • Tap into your full potential
  • Refresh your spirit

The Viniyoga approach to yoga, as transmitted by Mary’s teacher, Gary Kraftsow of the American Viniyoga Institute, offers tools for physical, mental and emotional wellness.  Discover the power of yoga adapted for you.  Unite your breath with movement.  Explore the tools for transformation of body, mind and spirit with an approach that embraces the wholeness of each individual.

Highlights of the Viniyoga Approach

  • Breath-centric practice
  • Repetition in and out of postures (asanas)
  • “Stay” in postures once the body is prepared
  • Flowing movements (vinyasas)
  • Adaptation of postures to the individual
  • Safe & intelligent sequencing that is rooted in specific intentions
  • Multi-faceted approaches incorporating sound, mantra, pranayama & meditation for those interested in the inner aspects of yoga
  • A solid philosophical foundation in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
  • Authentic transmission


Benefits of the Viniyoga Approach to Practice

  • Intention is the start of any practice which includes understanding needs and interests, time of day, season of the year and the context of any particular setting
  • Slow controlled movement in and out of postures paired with ‘stay” in postures leads to greater strength, stability, flexibility, physiological benefits and mental focus
  • The focus on the breath is a powerful tool for structural health (especially related to the spine), stress reduction, vitality, better sleep, digestion and emotional health
  • Elegant and safe sequencing safeguards against injury, promotes healing and prepares the body and mind for more advanced postures and a sense of mastery
  • The practice serves you because it’s adapted for your needs
  • Integration of other yoga tools like chanting and meditation increases concentration, focus,  mental conditioning and personal transformation.

Chronic Low Back Pain – National Institutes of Health Study

Yoga, specifically a Viniyoga therapy-based low back pain intervention, demonstrated effectiveness equal to an exercise-based program for chronic low back pain in a large National Institutes of Health study. Gary Kraftsow, MA, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, developed the Viniyoga Therapy intervention for this large National Institutes of Health study on low back pain.

Study Article

Sherman, KJ, Cherkin, DC, Erro, J, Miglioretti, DL, Deyo, RA. (2005).Comparing yoga, exercise and a self-care book for chronic low back pain: A randomized, controlled trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 143:849-856.

In October, 2011, the initial results of Sherman’s second, larger scale study were released.  This study compared a twelve week Viniyoga intervention, a physical therapist designed stretching intervention of similar intensity and duration and a self-care booklet.

Methodology Article

Sherman, K., Cherkin, D., etal (2010) Comparison of Yoga versus Stretching for Chronic Low Back Pain: Protocol for the Yoga Exercise Self-care (YES) Trial.  Trials. 2010 Mar 31;11:36.

Free article available at National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Study Article

Sherman, K., Cherkin, D., etal  (2011) A Randomized Trial Comparing Yoga, Stretching, and a Self-care Book for Chronic Low Back Pain. Archives of Internal Medicine.  Published online October 24, 2011. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.524

Fact Sheet (.pdf)

Stress Reduction

Aetna Inc., a large multi-state health insurance company conducted a Mind-Body Pilot on chronic and high stress that looked at Viniyoga and mindfulness-based stress reduction.  The study demonstrated statistically significant results on primary and secondary objectives including:

  • Perceived stress scale
  • Sleep quality
  • Heart rhythm coherence ratio of heart rate variability (measure of autonomic balance)
  • Current level of pain (Viniyoga intervention)

Directionally favorable results were seen for:

  • Breathing rate
  • Worst pain ever and average pain
  • Symptoms of depression

Wolever RQ, Bobinet KJ, McCabe K, Mackenzie ER, Fekete E, Kusnick CA, Baime M.J Occup Health Psychol. 2012 Apr;17(2):246-58. Effective and viable mind-body stress reduction in the workplace: a randomized controlled trial.

Kusnick C, Kraftsow G, Hilliker M.  Int J Yoga Therap. 2012;(22):91-2.  Building bridges for yoga therapy research: the Aetna, inc., mind-body pilot study on chronic and high stress.

Fact Sheet (.pdf)