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World Psychology: Psychology by Country · Psychology of Displaced Persons


Viniyoga is a Sanskrit word that appears in the Yoga Sutra of Patañjali. It can be translated as "application"; the aphorism III.6 indicates that the student of yoga must progress in stages, so that each individual has a particular appropriate focus of practice. Commentators from Vyasa on have noted the exception to the rule - that through the grace of God, or special devotion to Isvara, one may indeed skip over intermediate stages to attain higher stages.

The term viniyoga was later used to distinguish the yoga style of T. K. V. Desikachar (in the lineage of T. Krishnamacharya). Desikachar himself later distanced himself from the word. In general, the name is meant to emphasize that yoga practice should be adapted to fit the individuality and particular situation of each practitioner.

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