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Meet the Innovators: Gary Kraftsow

The first American yoga teacher to be certified by T.K.V. Desikachar, Kraftsow is now one of the leading proponents of Viniyoga yoga therapy in the United States.

By Holly Hammond

Gary Kraftsow

Gary Kraftsow was the first American yoga teacher to be certified by T.K.V. Desikachar and the only American authorized to train teachers in that lineage. Kraftsow is founder of the American Viniyoga Institute in Maui, Hawaii, and one of the leading proponents of Viniyoga yoga therapy in the United States, a method known for adapting practices to suit the individual.

Kraftsow went to India in 1974 at age 19, where he studied for three years with Desikachar and his father, T. Krishnamacharya. His book, Yoga for Wellness, is a course in therapeutic Viniyoga, including asana sequences for common physical and mental complaints.

"Yoga has tended to be reduced to asana practice in this country," Kraftsow says. "But the yoga therapy tradition incorporates not only asana but pPranayama, chanting, mantra, meditation, prayer, ritual, textual study, and Ayurvedic insights about diet and lifestyle. My prayer is that we avoid trivialization and dilution of this profound tradition in the well-intentioned effort to be inclusive."

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Reader Comments

Melisa

I was looking for more information on viniyoga. There isn't much here, unfortunately.

Barbara Temsamani

Why the brevity of the two Viniyoga articles? I have done workshops with Desikachar and had lunch with Gary Kraftsow at a yoga conference. Both are very inspiring and gifted teachers and deserve more coverage in your magazine.

Emme

It's interesting that there are yoga students out there
Who do not know that there's so much more
To yoga than asana. But when it is presented
To them in small interesting doses, they are
Open & grateful to it. They seem to welcome
The surrender to opening to deeper levels.

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