What is Viniyoga?
Viniyoga was formulated by the great yoga master, Sri Krishnamacharya in the early years of the 20th century and formed the basis of the modern flowering of different schools of yoga throughout the world today.
In this school of yoga we stress the function of a pose or movement, not the precise shape it takes. Mastery does not involve forcing our (sometimes unwilling) bodies into specific shapes. Rather, it is about determining what the body needs (whether that is strengthening of particular joint or area of the body or trying to introduce a greater range of movement), then using that pose to achieve that aim. We structure a range of poses in a specific way, so that the body is gradually prepared for the main pose, and counterposes are used to bring the body back to a state of neutrality and symmetry.
What sets this school of yoga apart is that we always use the breath as our medium for movement. The breath is used to enhance or soften a pose, and the pose itself either intensifies or softens the breath. After a number of repetitions to bring preparedness to the musculature, we often stay for an extended period of time in a posture. This is when, in the words of Gary Kraftsow, "significant inner purification and physiological transformation occurs".