Viniyoga is a Sanskrit word that has multiple meanings. Literal meanings include "separation", "detachment", and "leaving", but the common meanings include "employment", "use", and "application". The root yuj means "to join", among other senses, with two prefixes vi and'ni it means the opposite — seperation . In non-Hindu or Western context, viniyoga typically erroneously identifies to the style of hatha yoga as taught by T.K.V. Desikachar. Modern meaning is erroneously, because in the book "The Viniyoga of Yoga" Desikachar wrote "Viniyoga is not a style of yoga, but an approach to utilizing its tools".
In the same book and page as above Desikachar also expands the context of the word 'Viniyoga' as a word used in contexts other than Yoga, for example: "The word is relevant not only in the context of Yoga, but in other life situations as well".  When used as a technical term in Hindu religious literature it refers to a short introductory section that gives standard details about the work, such as the sage (ṛṣi) who is said to have originated the work, the meter in which it is to be chanted, the deity (devatā) considered to preside over it, and other technical details of its use.
Indian yoga teacher Tirumalai Krishnamacharya developed this individualized yoga style, which came to be described by others as Viniyoga, although he himself did not identify his approach by this name.
The term viniyoga came to be used by Western students of T.K.V. Desikachar (son of Krishnamacharya) to collectively describe his approach to utilizing the tools of yoga, in particular his conviction that yoga practice should be adapted to fit the individuality and particular situation of each practitioner.
Viniyoga yoga was just as effective as conventional stretching exercise, and more effective than a self-care book for improving function and pain in patients with chronic low back pain. A 2011 study published online by the Archives of Internal Medicine found that viniyoga was more effective in reducing back pain than using a self-care book. However, viniyoga was no more effective in reducing back pain than stretching classes.
TKV Desikachar had described the viniyoga of Yoga in May 1983 as the ‘systematic application of Yoga’:
“Yoga is a mystery. It does not mean the same thing to each and everyone. In spite of the vast field it covers curing chronic ailments, extra-sensory perception, etc, hardly anyone is able to define it in simple terms. Where is then the hope of experiencing its true significance?
What about the risks of inappropriate use of Yoga methods and practices?
Why are so many people all over the world taking the word and the substance of Yoga so lightly, so ridiculously? Like everything, Yoga must be presented intelligently. It should be spoken of carefully and offered according to the aspiration, requirement and the culture of the individual.This should be done in stages.Systematic application of Yoga – be it concerned with physical exercises, deep breathing, relaxation, meditation, lifestyle, food, studies – is the need of the day.
This I believe – is what the word viniyoga represents.” 
However from 2002 Desikachar began to disassociate himself from being linked to the singular word viniyoga and its use to commonly identify his teacher’s teaching. This was because of the shift in popular perception from his description of the viniyoga of Yoga as referring to the appropriate application of Yoga, now not just shortened to viniyoga as a generic collective, but also to Viniyoga as a marketable branding handle. His original intention was that it would collectively describe an intelligent and systematic approach to teaching Yoga, collating the teachings of T Krishnamacharya, within individual situations for a Yoga teacher trained by TKV Desikachar, or one of his students.
Following on from this on April 24th 2003 there was a general email sent to his senior students around the world which asked them to choose either not to use the singular word ‘Viniyoga’ to represent Desikachar’s and Krishnamacharya’s approach to teaching Yoga or to remove their names from their communications.
When I introduced the concept of viniyoga in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I never imagined that it will replace the word “Yoga”.
I am extremely disappointed with the situation today, where this has become the case and caused so much distortion and confusion. Hence I request you to either delete the word Viniyoga to represent my teacher’s teaching, or remove my father’s and my name from your communications. This is the least you can do for me, as a guru dakshina.
Please feel free to forward this to other students whose email addresses I don’t have.
With Best Wishes
In 2015, KHYF registered Viniyoga as a trademark in India under class 44 (medical services). In 2017, KHYF registered Viniyoga as a trademark in European Union under classes 16 (books), 41 (education services), and 44 (medical services).
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