I possess a natural empathy and a desire to help people; whether that is to help ease the pain of chronic tension, to soothe the muscles following over-exertion or simply to relax and take away anxiety. I treat people holistically and as individuals

Amy Phillips - 07800 636266

Dekker Road, Dulwich Village. London. SE21 7DJ


Wednesday, January 27, 2016 Wellbeing


‘If we strive to meet external standards, without first recognizing our actual condition and developing our practice accordingly, we may actually re-enforce dysfunctional patterns and completely miss the deeper value of asana practice.’ Gary Kraftsow, Yoga for Wellness.

I have written about yoga before but since that post my interest has enormously developed and I’m extremely excited to be embarking on teacher training in the Viniyoga tradition. I went to my first class with Janet Evans in September 2014 and afterwards I knew I wanted to take it further, it was instantaneous and immediately felt like the right course of action. I’m yet to be disappointed! Viniyoga is what I have been searching for all these years without even realizing it.
So, what is Viniyoga? This is where it can get quite confusing as viniyoga actually means ‘special application’ therefore the correct name would really be ‘The Viniyoga of yoga’ A mouthful to say the least…so Viniyoga it is. It was a style developed by TKV Desikachar, student and son of Krishnamacharya; often seen as the founding father of Hatha Yoga. So what makes this style of yoga different? Well, for me, yoga classes would often result in pain, I found it frustrating as I enjoyed working with asana and all aspects of the classes but for days after I would hurt across my chest, shoulders and upper arms and sometimes my lower back and legs too. I now realize this was because all of these yoga classes were encouraging students to fit into a classic form, a ‘perfect’ version of the posture. I was therefore pushing my body too far. My body just isn’t ‘right’ for many of the more challenging postures. I can get into them because I am quite flexible but does that mean I should? It certainly doesn’t...when we are flexible we can often overstretch in some muscles and this can stop us from using other muscles correctly. Add to that a fast movement between asana’s so that I could barely breath let alone be in tune with my breath…I was pushed to the max and I have to say, I certainly can’t have been in any way a yogic state of mind during these classes…it was just exercise!!
Viniyoga is the application of yoga from a reverse perspective; students adapt the posture to suit their body rather than forcing their body into a posture. It works, it really does! In this perspective postures are considered more from a function perspective than of a form one. It is a study of movement potential and actualising this potential in asanas lies in understanding the effects of movement and adapting our own movement in relationship to our structural needs and capabilities. Using asana in this way enables us to deepen our self-awareness and ultimately enables us to change habitual patterns at a neuromuscular level and develop new ones. This can decrease stress and promote skeletal alignment and mechanical freedom.
I would describe classes as having a good combination of dynamic and static postures and a balance between movement, relaxation and breath. Classes will often work with sound and include pranayama practice, an essential component of yoga that is often overlooked. I find the classes challenging but never too much, I might get a little sweaty but I won’t be out of breath. Viniyoga is all about a long, even breath. I never experience pain after class and I’m also fitter and stronger than ever. I have completed all the steps towards teacher training and will begin the course in June 2016, after 4 years I will be a fully qualified teacher and during that time I will be teaching classes. I can’t wait!!!

“Begin your practice from where you are,
finish your practice where you are going.”
– TKV Desikachar 1978

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