I became a Viniyoga instructor because of a teacher I was blessed to practice with privately for 12 years. Meet River Cummings, one of the most inspiring yoga instructors I have ever known in over 20 years of dedicated practice.

River Cummings is one of the esteemed presenters at Aubrey Hackman’s 5th annual Telluride Yoga Festival, Thursday, July 12 – Sunday, July 15. The list also includes two instructors from Mysore, India, Dr. Jayashree and M.A. Narasimhan, in town to teach yogic philosophy, Sanskrit and mantra, plus Duncan Wong, Annie Pace, Mark Whitwell, Beryl Bender Birch, Sean Johnson, Alanna Kaivalya, Stacey Rosenberg, Nancy Stechert, Karl Straub, Allison English, the YogaSlackers, Amy Johnson, Jill Lawson, Rachel Nelson, Mike Matsumara, Erin Fleming, Tina Porter and Josh Vincent.

River Cummings holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry from Emory University and did her Ph.D. work in Chemistry at Seattle’s University of Washington. River later went on to earn certification in massage therapy. She began her yoga studies at the age of 20 when, due to a teenage career in horse jumping, her increasing pain and residual structural stress prompted healing intervention. Over 20 years in the field, she has been privileged to study under world-renowned teachers and lamas in the U.S., India and Tibet. In the late 1990’s, she encountered the tradition of TKV Desikachar and T Krishnamacharya and immediately recognized as her spiritual roots and vocational calling. Since that time, she has dedicated herself to sharing their profound lineage.

The primary goal of yoga is personal transformation. Through yoga, River helped herself and many others regain the peace, happiness, clarity, and connection that foster personal fulfillment and rekindle a passion for life. The intelligence, humor, curiosity and compassion she brings to her classes reveal a true love of the practice and a natural gift for imparting that knowledge.

What exactly is the lineage River’s instruction is based on, Viniyoga?

The name “Viniyoga” is used to describe the methodology of yoga practice handed down by T. Krishnamacharya through his son T.K.V. Desikachar to Kraftsow. “Viniyoga” is an ancient sanskrit word that implies appropriate action in a given context. Applied to yoga instruction and practice, Viniyoga means:

• Understanding that individuals have different needs, interests and goals in life.
• Encouraging yoga practitioners to become self-reflective in order to discover their own needs, interests and goals.
• Adapting the tools of yoga to support each individual in fulfilling needs, linking to interests and achieving goals

In River’s classes, exact techniques chosen for each class reflect a specific intention or focus rather than a “level” of difficulty. There is always some movement and held postures as well as focus on deep breathing. Postures are generally chosen to support spinal health, circulation and functional movement patterns. Emphasis on breath-awareness and internal experience create a meditative and restorative effect. Viniyoga’s highly refined science of sequencing maximizes the benefits of postures while minimizing risks through intelligent preparation and compensation for the body. At the Telluride Yoga Festival, River will emphasize adaptation in asana and pranayama, the extension of the life force through the breath.

Watch this interview with River for an overview of Viniyoga and more:

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