How we are affected by our surroundings - and the things we do and don´t do

Tag: Yoga

Yoga Therapy – a powerful tool to treat both mental and physical conditions

Yoga can be a powerful tool to treat both mental and physical conditions. This article will give an overview over how different conditions can be treated with Yoga Therapy – and especially Viniyoga Theraphy.

When you work with both physical and mental conditions in Viniyoga Therapy, the starting point is that people are multidimensional beings. Examples of these dimensions are anatomy, physiology and psychology, but also family, society and environment. According to the yoga teachings, everything that affects one of these levels also affects the other ones. For example, if your body is stressed this will affect your mind and therefore also quite possible the people around you. As a result of this, the focus in Viniyoga Therapy is to treat the whole human being.

“Yoga therapy is less about the disease and more about the person suffering from the disease.” Gary Kraftsow

In Yoga Therapy, you can work with a person in numerous ways. The one that the public usually think of when they hear the word yoga is yoga poses (asanas). In Viniyoga Therapy, the focus is on breath centric asanas. This means that the movements are connected to the breath in special ways. But yoga is much more than poses. Also meditation, chanting and breath work (pranayama) are important parts of yoga. Breathwork can be very powerful. Because of this, breath work should only be practiced with a certified instructor (at least in the beginning) since it can affect both the body and mind. Also exercise and diet changes can be part of a viniyoga therapeutical perspective. Yoga therapy can also be a very effective complement to other treatments for different conditions.

There is no one right way to treat a condition according to Viniyoga Therapy. Even if there are some general ideas about how to treat different conditions, the treatment can vary a lot from person to person. The reason for this is because everybody – and everybody’s disease – is different. Because of this the exact same treatment may not work for two different people. It also varies from person to person where to start the treatment. In viniyoga therapy it is important to “meet the person where he or she is” when you start the treatment.

The next blog article will focus on why yoga both can increase the energy and be calming. And the two articles after will give an overview over  how depression and anxiety can be treated with Viniyoga Therapy.


In may 2017, Gary Kraftsow held a weekend seminar in Seattle about how to treat depression and anxiety with Viniyoga Therapy. This article is mainly based on parts of the seminar.  Gary Kraftsow is the founder of the American Viniyoga institute. According to the American Viniyoga institute “Yoga Therapy refers to the adaptation and application of Yoga techniques and practices to help individuals facing health challenges at any level manage their condition”. Yoga therapy can be used to treat both physical and mental conditions. You can read more about Gary Kraftsow, viniyoga and viniyoga therapy here.


Note: This article is not meant to be a guideline for how to treat different conditions with Viniyoga Therapy. It should rather be seen as an overview – and not as a treatment plan! If you suffer from a serious condition you are advised to contact your doctor. Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. See full disclaimer here!


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Seminar with Gary Kraftsow about treating anxiety & depression with Yoga Therapy. Seattle, May 19-21 2017.

Kraftsow, Gary (1999) Yoga for Wellness: Healing with the Timeless Teachings of Viniyoga

Yoga and Meditation affect your genes

Yoga and meditation can affect how your genes are expressed. Together with other relaxing exercises, these activities seem to reverse some of the stress-related changes in the genes. Especially the genes linked to overall poor health and depression seem to be positively affected by these activities.

According to a new scientific review, different mind-body exercises can actually affect how your genes are expressed. In the study, British researchers focused on the biological effects of different mind-body exercises such as yoga (poses), meditation, breathing exercises, qigong and tai chi. The study is a review of 18 earlier published studies, altogether including 846 people.

According to this study the activities appear to suppress the expression of the genes that promote inflammation. Studies have shown that chronic inflammation is linked to many common diseases today – both physical and mental ones.

During the last years, more and more studies have shown that both the environment and lifestyle can affect if genes are active or inactive. This research field is is called epigenetics. According to epigenetic research you are not “doomed” to get a disease even if you have ‘the gene(s)’ for developing it. During the last years, many studies have shown that the environment and your lifestyle choices seem to be of the greatest importance if you develop a disease or not – even if you have the gene(s). This is because both the environment and the lifestyle affect if the genes are activated or not.

Even just 15 minutes of practicing mind-body exercises seem to affect the gene expression positively according to the new study.

Buric, I., Farias M., Jong J., Mee, C. Brazil I. (2017) What Is the Molecular Signature of Mind–Body Interventions? A Systematic Review of Gene Expression Changes Induced by Meditation and Related Practices. Frontiers in Immunology, 16 June 2017,

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