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American Viniyoga Institute


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Viniyoga is a Sanskrit word that has multiple meanings. Literal meanings include “separation”, “detachment”, and “leaving”, but the common meanings include “employment”, “use”, and “application”.[1] The root viniyuj means “to use”, “to employ”, “to do”, among other senses.[2]

When used as a technical term in Hindu religious literature it refers to a short introductory section that gives standard details about the work, such as the sage (ṛṣi) who is said to have originated the work, the meter in which it is to be chanted, the deity (devatā) considered to preside over it, and other technical details of its use.[3]

The word appears in the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, where sutra 3.6 says that the application of the practice of saṁyama takes place in stages.[4]

The term viniyoga has been used by T. K. V. Desikachar to describe his approach to utilizing the tools of yoga, in particular his conviction that yoga practice should be adapted to fit the individuality and particular situation of each practitioner.[5] Desikachar later distanced himself from the term.

Viniyoga as a therapeutically oriented yoga style was more effective than traditional exercise or a patient education book for improving function and pain in patients with chronic low back pain[6]


  1. ^ See Apte 1956, p. 860 for definitions of विनियोग (viniyoga) as: 1. Separation, parting, detachment; 2. Leaving, giving up, abandoning; 3. Employment, use, application, disposal.
  2. ^ For a definition of the root viniyuj, see Apte 1956, p. 860.
  3. ^ For use as a technical term in stotra literature, see Joshi 1998, p. 2.
  4. ^ For text of sutra 3.6 as “tasya bhūmiṣu viniyogaḥ”, translation of this sutra as “Its (of Saṁyama) use by stages”, and definition of viniyoga as “application, employment”, see Taimni 1961, p. 287.
  5. ^ For a discussion of the meaning of viniyoga in this context, see Desikachar 2001, p. 8.
  6. ^ Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Erro J, Miglioretti DL, Deyo RA. Comparing yoga, exercise, and a self-care book for chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trialAnn Intern Med. 2005;143:849-56. PMID 16365466


  • Apte, Vaman Shivram (1965), The Practical Sanskrit Dictionary (Fourth revised and enlarged ed.), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, ISBN 81-208-0567-4
  • Joshi, L. M. (1998), Lalitā Sahasranāma, New Delhi: D. K. Printworld (P) Ltd., ISBN 81-246-0073-2
  • Taimni, I. K. (1961), The Science of Yoga (Eighth Reprint, 1993 ed.), Adyar, India: The Theosophical Publishing House, ISBN 81-7059-212-7
  • Desikachar, T.K.V. with Kausthub Desikachar and Frans Moors (1994), The Viniyoga of Yoga: Applying Yoga for Healthy Living (Second Reprint, 2001 ed.), Chennai, India: Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, ISBN 81-87847-11-5
Classic Yogas
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