Viniyoga® means proper application based on the situation, and is a word that is relevant not only in the context of yoga, but in other life situations as well. For example consider how they teach Language in school. In the beginning, the child is taught only the alphabet of the language. Once this has been learnt, simple words corresponding to each language are taught. “A for apple.. B for ball..” etc. Slowly simple sentences are introduced. And finally, grammar and style are taught. Why are they not teaching grammar first, then sentences and then alphabet in the end? This is because the capacity of the child, when young is such that it can comprehend only simple things. Also, the first steps act as foundations for the next. This is also an example of Viniyoga®.
Viniyoga® is not a style of yoga, but rather an approach to utilising its tools. Patanjali and other great masters recognised the differences in people, and even for the same person, the changes imposed by life. This is why they proposed a wealth of tools and left the teachers to apply the appropriate ones to suit the context. The teacher would fully consider the needs and abilities of the student and only then would decide the right yoga practice. This is the “Viniyoga® of Yoga”, which is emphasised in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, and has been accepted by other great yogi-s who followed.
Why Viniyoga® of Yoga?
The reason why people come to yoga are very different. While the athlete might come to use yoga as a preparation for sport, the pregnant mother might take to it to have an easy delivery. The young child might benefit from its ability to make her more focused and energetic, while an old person might want to use it to refresh and energize himself. Yoga provides something for everyone and what each receives from it is different.
Since the purpose people come to yoga is different, we cannot have the same approach. The right tools have to be chosen and applied based on the goal of each individual.
Also, even among people with the same interest in yoga, they cannot be given exactly the same courses. This is because the starting point for each is not the same. While one lady can be having her first pregnancy, and another could be carrying her third child. The experiences they are going through are very different. Also, there may be differences in age, the place they live, the time they can spare for practice and other such factors that will make them unique.
It is not like a running race everyone starts at the same point and the finishing line is already known, and the one who gets there first is the best. Here the starting point is not the same, and so is the finishing line. Hence each person’s situation must be respected and then the right tools of yoga should be chosen and taught.
“Owing to the differences in body structure, all the tools of yoga are not meant for everyone. For in reality some are stout, some lean, some crooked and some others lame”