About Gary Kraftsow

Founder and Director of the American Viniyoga Institute.

Gary Kraftsow has been an innovator in the transmission of yoga for health, healing, and personal transformation for over 40 years. He began his study of yoga in India with T.K.V. Deśikācar in 1974 and received a Viniyoga Special Diploma from Viniyoga International in Paris, France in 1988.

Gary graduated with a BA, Magna Cum Laude, from Colgate University in 1976 and received his Masters Degree in Psychology and Religion from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1983.  Around that time, he opened Maui School of Yoga Therapy.  In 1999, he founded the American Viniyoga Institute, LLC.  Since then, he has become a renowned speaker and teacher of the Viniyoga methodology at many conferences and schools nationally and internationally.

Gary has successfully developed protocol for two National Institutes of Health studies: “Evaluating Yoga for Chronic Low Back Pain” and “Yoga Therapy for Generalized Anxiety”, as well for the “Mind-Body Stress Reduction in the Workplace” clinical trial for Aetna Insurance Company.

He is the Director and Senior Teacher of the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI®), the author of two books published by Penguin: Yoga for Wellness and Yoga for Transformation, and author of four educational DVD’s:  Viniyoga Therapy for Low Back, Sacrum and Hips and Viniyoga Therapy for Upper Back, Neck and ShouldersViniyoga Therapy for Depression, and Viniyoga Therapy for Anxiety.  He has also produced multiple online workshops:  Āsana Unlocked, Pranayama Unlocked, Meditation Unlocked, Yoga Therapy for Depression, Yoga Therapy for Better Sleep, and Yoga Therapy for Anxiety. He is currently creating the AVI Digital Library which offers both live and on-demand classes.

Experience Gary

Professional Training

Gary Kraftsow is the lead teacher/lecturer for AVI Professional Training Programs, including the Viniyoga Foundations Program (300 hour and 500 hour options) and the Viniyoga Therapist Training. Enrolling in an AVI® Professional Training is an immersion in the Viniyoga methodology with Gary Kraftsow.

What is it like to study with Gary Kraftsow in an AVI training? You can expect to receive daily lectures and practices that integrate lecture content. In addition, Gary leads observational experiences, lectures on yoga philosophy and provides question and answer sessions.


Gary Kraftsow’s transmission of yoga has evolved into several products including:


  • Yoga for Wellness
  • Yoga for Transformation


  • Viniyoga Therapy for Low Back, Sacrum and Hips
  • Viniyoga Therapy for Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders
  • Viniyoga Therapy for Anxiety
  • Viniyoga Therapy for Depression

Audio CDs

  • Chanting Live with Gary Kraftsow
  • Yoga Sutra-s of Patanjali Chapter One: A Commentary by Gary Kraftsow
  • Yoga for Wellness

Digital Workshops

» Visit our store to purchase or for more information on products.

Yoga Research Consultations 

Inncreasingly, yoga is being looked at more seriously by western health care. Further western style research, such the NIH study on back pain, is needed to document and create what is called evidenced-based medicine for yoga therapy.

Gary Kraftsow, MA, E-RYT–500, C-IAYT
Founder and Director of the American Viniyoga Institute

As part of his deep commitment to furthering the work of Yoga Therapy, Gary serves on the International Association of Yoga Therapists Educational Standards Committee and actively participates in Yoga Therapy research.

He developed the yoga protocol for the 2003 National Institutes of Health study “Evaluating Yoga for Chronic Low Back Pain,” which demonstrated the positive effect of yoga on low back pain. In 2005, the study results were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Since then Gary has developed the yoga protocol for a Harvard Medical School study for generalized anxiety, designed another for an Aetna Insurance company pilot study on managing workplace stress, and consulted on several studies for other health conditions, including abdominal obesity, COPD, and non-small cell lung cancer.

» For more information on Gary Kraftsow and the American Viniyoga Institute’s yoga research consultation, visit our Yoga Research Consultation page.

Private Yoga Therapy

Gary Kraftsow, MA, E-RYT (500) offers private yoga therapy online. When working privately with students, Gary prefers to schedule a minimum of four sessions spaced 3-5 days apart.

» Email for more information and to get on the waiting list.