Today’s post is written by guest writer and current student of Whole Life Yoga’s 200 hour teacher training program, Amanda Whitworth.
I found Viniyoga by chance really. I was taking my second yoga class at a gym in West Seattle. As I was sitting cross-legged on the mat, I got a whisper from someplace deep inside, and I felt this random yet strong urge to ask the teacher where she received her teaching certification. I normally tend to be someone who errs on the quiet side, never really asking too many questions, often the observer in the back of the room. On this particular day, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I could not leave class without asking. As other students were coming in and getting their mats, I went up to her and just asked. With a big smile she replied, “Whole Life Yoga” and continued with an explanation that it was a studio off of 85th and Greenwood that teaches the Viniyoga lineage, and was taught by Tracy Weber. I gratefully said thank you and proceeded to practice for the next hour and fifteen minutes trying not to think about rushing home to look up Whole Life Yoga on the internet. A few days later I was meeting Tracy to discuss the possibility of taking her teacher training course starting a few weeks later.
One of the things that was extremely intimidating to me about practicing yoga was also why it took me a long time to actually get on the mat. I assumed the stereotype that everyone had to obtain a certain ‘level’ and be extremely flexible was real. I’m a runner, hiker, triathlete, and overall, I was pretty much born with tight hips, hamstrings, and quads. In my head, I thought I’d never obtain this ‘ultimate’ level of yoga. Little did I know there was a lineage that was just right for me and that was Viniyoga. What really set Viniyoga apart from other lineages were the four main key differentiators: adaptation (function over form), repetition and stay, movement with the breath, and sequencing.
Tracy invited me to try a class and from that moment on, I realized that yoga is more than just being of a certain flexibility. It’s a way of being and can fit into everyone’s life, regardless of their flexibility.
Here is a little more about each of the differentiators:
Adaptation of poses – “Function over Form”: Vinyoga is about adapting the pose to meet the needs of the individual. We all have very different bodies and it is important to find what works for your particular body and work from there. Viniyoga’s focus is on the function of the pose and adapts the form of the pose in order to suit the needs of the body.
Use of Repetition and Stay: In Viniyoga we use repetition (moving in and out of a pose) combined with staying in a posture (staying in the pose after proper preparation). Repetition increases circulation to the muscles, and alternately contracts opposing muscles as we move in and out of the pose. Extended stay in a pose after some repetition allows easier lengthening of the muscles after they have been properly warmed up.
Moving with the breath: We link each movement with the breath, wrapping it in a fluid motion that best serves the body. Likewise, there are fluid “micromovements” with the breath even while staying in the pose.
Sequencing: Viniyoga uses detailed principles of sequencing that determine how we put the asanas (poses) together. Each pose is viewed in relation to the poses around it, and also in relation to the intention of the overall practice.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason or to teach you a lesson. That day in the gym opened an incredible door in my life. One that I walked through and have embraced wholeheartily every step of the way.
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle!