Vijnana means wisdom and knowledge, which has been achieved by personal experience. Vijnana Yoga has been developed by Orit Sen-Gupta. It comes out of the two Hatha Yoga streams Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga. Unique about Vijnana Yoga is that meditation, breathing, postural practice (singular postures and flow) and the study of texts (experience into words, words into experience) are equally important and continuously inform each other in the yoga practice.
Practicing from inside means that in addition to copying the pose from looking at the teacher or at others we perform the pose while listening to our own sensations, bodily feedback and the quality of mind. We pay attention to HOW the pose is done. By this we can start to develop personal insight and true knowledge by experience (Vijnana). The vital principles and the vayus (ten vital winds) help us to develop and refine this skill.
All the principles happen at the same time. To learn to master them we can work with one or two principles for a while. Finally we apply all of them to make the practice whole. The vital principles are described in the book "Dancing the Body of Light" by Dona Holleman and Orit Sen-Gupta.
The vayus help us to find the alignment from inside.
Vayu means wind, space or air. We can imagine the vayu practice like airing through and vitalizing the different rooms and spaces in our body. The vayus can be found in the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali and several Hatha yoga texts. Through many years of thorough and sensitive research, Orit Sen Gupta has deepened her understanding of the ancient techniques of vayu practice. She reports that by using the vayus the body starts "tuning itself towards a gentle, yet precise alignment." It feels as if "the skeletal spine is reinforced by a vertical column of air. This transforms the posture, simplifies and deepens pranayama breathing practices and quietens the mind." (Vayu's Gate - Yoga and the Ten Vital Winds by Orit Sen Gupta)
Annika Luschin is a certified Vijnana Yoga teacher.
Calling our way of practicing Vijnana Yoga is but giving recognition to something that has always been there, something that is at the core of our discipline: practicing, feeling, understanding - from inside.
Orit Sen Gupta