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Viniyoga for Low Back Pain: New Study Results Released

By | 04/12/2017 |

Karen Sherman’s first randomized controlled trial (RCT) investigating the effectiveness of yoga for low back pain was published in 2005 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Her initial study was met by high enthusiasm among Viniyoga teachers and therapists as well as the broader yoga community.

Recently, results from Sherman’s second, larger study using the same study design have been released (Archives of Internal Medicine, December, 2011). In new study, Sherman compared the effectiveness of a 12 week group Viniyoga intervention, a Physical Therapist designed stretching program of similar intensity and a self-care booklet in 226 subjects with moderate level, uncomplicated low back pain. Subjects in both the stretching and Viniyoga groups reported reduced medication use and improved functioning when compared to the subjects who received the self- care booklet.

Sherman reports “we found that physical activity involving stretching, regardless of whether it is achieved using yoga or more conventional exercises has moderate benefits in individuals with moderately impairing low back pain.” Further analyses of the data are planned to examine the mechanisms (physical, mental and emotional) through which Viniyoga influences chronic low back pain.

Are you interested in learning more about how to use research results in your Yoga Therapy practice? Would you like to know how to explain yoga research findings to clients and colleagues? Clare Collins will be offering a 2012 Webinar titled “Viniyoga for Low Back Pain: How Evidence-Based is Our Practice?” For more information about this spring continuing education offering, contact

Karen J. Sherman; Daniel C. Cherkin; Robert D. Wellman; Andrea J. Cook; Rene J. Hawkes; Kristin Delaney; Richard A. Deyo
A Randomized Trial Comparing Yoga, Stretching, and a Self-care Book for Chronic Low Back Pain
Arch Intern Med, Dec 12/26, 2011; 171: 2019 – 2026.

Can Yoga Be Bad for You?

By Scott Shafer | 04/11/2017 | KQED

“It’s not about the postures, it’s about the practitioner.”
— Gary Kraftsow

KQED (NPR affiliate station in Northern California) held a radio show on January 12, 2012
about a recent New York Times Magazine article focused on how yoga can cause serious
injury. The safety of yoga practice was addressed by a panel of speakers including:

  • Baxter Bell, director of the Piedmont Yoga Studio’s teacher-training program in Oakland and a board-certified family doctor
  • Glenn Black, yoga teacher featured in the New York Times Magazine article
  • Jason Crandell, yoga teacher and contributing editor of Yoga Journal
  • Kaitlin Quistgaard, editor in chief of Yoga Journal
  • Moshe Lewis, physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at California Pacific Medical Center, St. Luke’s Campus

Gary Kraftsow, Founder and Director of the American Viniyoga Institute called in to the radio show to discuss his perspectives on the New York Times Magazine article. You can hear Gary’s comments about 40 minutes into the show.

Listen to the radio show »

Read “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” at »

What distinguishes the Viniyoga approach to asana from other forms of yoga? Read more »

A Gentle Yoga Sequence for Back Pain

By Hillari Dowdle | 04/10/2017 | Yoga Journal

Four common mistakes in back pain treatment

By | 04/10/2017 | Consumer Reports

An article in the September 2014 issue of Consumer Reports lists five alternative treatments for back pain.

Along with Spinal Manipulation (performed by a chiropractor, osteopath or physical therapist), Massage, Acupuncture and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Viniyoga was specifically mentioned as “the most effective form of yoga for back pain”.

Re-discovering Viniyoga

By Sandra Levy | 04/10/2017 | Alexandria Myotherapy

“I have practiced Yoga on and off  for 44 years, but until a client raved about what Viniyoga had done for her, I had not heard of it.”

Read what Sandra Levy of Alexandria Myotherapy in Alexandria, Virginia has to say about discovering and then re-discovering the therapeutic benefits of Viniyoga.

For this CEO, mindful management means yoga for employees

By PBS | 04/10/2017 | PBS

View a segment from PBS NewsHour on the classes provided for Aetna employees by the American Viniyoga Institute.

A Tribute to Desikachar

By Gary Kraftsow | 04/10/2017 | Common Ground

Tribute to Desikachar

By Gary Kraftsow | 04/10/2017 | Yoga Journal – China

Yoga Therapy from Yoga Journal-Turkey

By Gary Kraftsow | 04/10/2017 | Yoga Journal – Turkey