Mirka Scalco Kraftsow, E-RYT-500, C-IAYT
“I met Mirka in Jan. 2020 when she offered a 3 month introductory course in restorative yoga. A teacher myself, I recognized immediately that she was a gifted teacher, carefully watching, correcting, and instructing a roomful of beginners and certified teachers somehow simultaneously.
When COVID closures struck and the course moved to an online format, Mirka’s warmth and skill just increased, as did my body’s response to more practice.
Once Mirka helped me re-inhabit my body, changes could begin toward my re-alignment. Mirka continued to sing over us, chant over us, and be our “eyes” so we could make subtle corrections. I think the key to Mirka’s magic is her constant invitation to help us find our spine space.
Mirka gave me back something, something that I thought leaves when we pass the prime years of our life: the power of me to heal me. With her loving awareness, Mirka guides every one of us toward this reality.”
“Mirka- Thank you so much for everything. Your support through my 2nd and 3rd trimesters was so helpful! We had such a beautiful labor and delivery experience and so much of that was influenced by my sessions with you.”
“Hi Mirka- Your yoga is really helping not only my body but all my bodies (emotional, physical, mental and spiritual). Thank you – please know that these classes are a true sanctuary and very needed at this time. Thank you for all your love and devotion.”
“Hi Mirka- We wanted express how much we enjoy and benefit from your classes and I particularly feel that they have given me a new lease on life. Thanks to your guidance I’m starting to experience greater flexibility and core strength which in turn has helped minimized the arthritic pain in my knees and sacrum areas. You’re helping us turn back the clock, thank you!!”
– John and Shirley
“Mirka is the empathic, spiritual embodiment of a true yoga master. Her classes are transcendent experiences of reconnection with the body, with Source, and with humanity.”
– Anjani Thomas
“Dear Mirka, Working with you means so much to me especially during these tumultuous times. It’s helping me to stay grounded, calm and in a place of deep Ahimsa. I relish the deliciousness and spaciousness to really hear my body speak. I think you are an amazing being and I’m so grateful to have found you. Your wisdom and teachings fill my heart so beautifully. Deep warm embrace to you.”
“Dearest Mirka, I have so much gratitude to you for all you share with us so lovingly, patiently, and with so many beautiful and meaningful insights. The love your bring to everything you do inspires all of us! Thank you from my heart and much love to you!”
“Mirka is truly the most inspiring yoga teacher I have ever met. She embodies love and compassion to whomever she meets.”
– Janet B.
“Mirka, I am so refreshed and deeply grateful for you- your wisdom, your humor, your authenticity, and for giving me tools to take care of myself. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“Mirka is a true and gifted yoga teacher who listens with body mind heart and provides clear guidance to students based on her personal immersion in yoga practices and philosophy. I specifically sought out Mirka because I needed the wisdom and deep knowledge she has of the yoga sutras, meditation, breathing practices, mantra and chanting, and physical body. I needed Mirka’s skillful and compassionate guidance to help me face and dissolve barriers that stand in the way of my living with an open heart. Such a courageous, knowledgeable, and grace-filled yoga teacher and therapist is a rare treasure. Thank you so much Mirka!”
– Candy Kokinakis
“Mirka is a rare and exceptional teacher, not just a great Viniyoga teacher. She considers her students needs with passion and commitment, seeking the best opportunities to motivate each one, to keep supporting all of them in finding their own work and growth. The learning is never about her; it is always about and for you.”
“Mirka herself is an amazing guide. I think the beauty of her teaching lies in the depth with which she cares, not only for yoga itself but for the people she teaches. Yoga is about people much more than specific poses or postures and especially for this kind of a spiritual journey you need a spiritual guide who you want to follow.”
– Liran (Assisi 2012)
“Mirka provides a welcoming and encouraging environment in which she shares her extensive knowledge of Yoga practice. Her precise instructions are clear and supportive. She is always reminding us that the poses are there to help us stretch and expand and that it is not a competition or test. Each class is a joy for the body as well as the soul. I feel fortunate to have her as a teacher.”
“Mirka- You are an incredible, most amazing Viniyoga teacher, and it is my privilege to have been your student these 3 1/2 years during which I have experienced the most transformation of my life, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, as well as physically. With great love and respect…
– Michael Alexander
“Thank you for today’s class. I could write pages about how significant it was for me, but I think you understand. We practiced asanas that I used to do with relative ease, but that I have avoided since back surgery (2001) because I could no longer do them in the “ideal” way…
But today I practiced them with just as much strength and focus, relative to who I am now, and felt just as much total engagement as I ever have. It was stunning, exhilarating, to feel completely connected internally and to completely let go of what I might look like. And to experience again what this awareness, this parusha, really feels like in asana.
As you said, several times, it is the awareness of our life force, our prana coursing through us, unimpeded. I loved that you had us stop and take a few still moments to savor it… That consciousness has been with me all day and I will keep it close and dear. And fan the flame!
It was not easy to decide to have lumbar fusion. It took 15 years of increasingly acute and chronic pain. I practiced yoga throughout, but there came a time when even that was painful, and rather than live out my life as a semi-invalid in a wheelchair, I found the best surgeon I could and am considered a success story in the orthopedic surgery world. But learning to love and accept this different body – how it looks, what it can no longer do – is a continuing process.
Through yoga, I am learning to shift my awareness to what I CAN do, rather than what’s no longer possible. And our viniyoga sanga is so accepting, creative and therapeutic on every level. It’s not for wimps! And it’s so much fun to grow and change with each other.”
“11 months ago I could barely walk and was in near constant pain in my hip and sacral spine. I had been successfully managing these chronic conditions with core strength training and cardio workouts for years until they stopped helping and started exacerbating my condition. I went to Western doctors who after multiple x-rays and MRIs diagnosed me with arthritis and inflammation in my right SI joint and hip and inflammation and stenosis in my sacral spine. I tried cortisone injections but they had no effect other than to drain my bank account. I was taking anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants and strong pain killers and nothing worked. After 4+ months, I gave up and decided to stop and try something new.
A friend told me about Mirka Kraftsow and Viniyoga and I decided why not! Nothing else was working. With Mirka’s help and expert guidance, over the past 6 months I have completely transformed my body, mind and spirit through a daily practice of Viniyoga and meditation. This gentle yoga practice seemed too “lightweight” when I first started it and I feared that I’d never be in the shape I was in before my flare up.
Boy, was I wrong! Mirka’s program of self-healing, looking inward to understand and work with your unique body situation (not against it), conscious breathing and meditation has been truly transformative for me. And I am in better shape than I was before – I feel stronger, more balanced and flexible, more self-aware and I am pain-free 90-95% of the time whereas before I was in pain 90-95% of the time.
I also feel an incredible inner peace and serenity that has helped me survive and thrive in a time of great change and uncertainty. Best of all, I feel like I have discovered and adopted practices that will work for me as I grow older… practices that will keep me young and vital and which I can adapt as my body changes.
Mirka has been such a gift to me and to so many. I am so very grateful that I found her!”
I have been a yoga student for many years, as well as a professional bodyworker and movement educator myself for four decades…
I learn so much from working with Mirka, and feel during and after her classes, more settled, more in tune with my body, more integrated with my mental and emotional states… and experiencing freer movement, while being satisfyingly grounded.
I absolutely recommend Mirka as a most expert, sincere, effective, knowledgable and caring teacher, who is able to pick out what each student needs at a particular time, as well as giving specific recommendations for ongoing practice and for physical, emotional, mental and spiritual deepening and integration.
I love studying with Mirka!”
– Mark Bauman
“I wanted to express my profound gratitude for today’s transformative practice. The affirmation you chose for our pranayama meditation resonated so deeply with me and I achieved a level of focused attention and intention and did such deep work that I am truly in awe. I’ve only ever reached this level of work when in shamanic settings under the influence of powerful plant medicines. To have reached this during a midday class in Sebastopol is truly remarkable.
You are truly remarkable and you are helping me to do truly remarkable, deeply healing work on my mind, body and spirit. I am so very grateful to have you in my life and look forward to the time we spend in the sacred space you create each class.”
“I have practiced yoga since I was in college in the late 60’s so was curious as Mirka was going to weave St. Francis in with yoga and was very pleased with the whole workshop… especially her use of vocals ( her own) to sing and chant her prayers as embodiment of the divine.”
– Reflections from a beautiful participant at the first workshop on teachings of St. Francis with Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland
“It has taken me some time to adjust to being back in England, but in all wonderful, positive new ways. Your workshop was a transformation on all levels. I touched and connected to a deep place within myself, which has enabled me to move on and change my life. This came about from the magic of your teaching, not just the traditions and techniques but because of YOU and the source of love and gentleness that you spread out to all of us.”
– Tessa Skola, Personal Trainer and Yoga Teacher, Cornwall, UK
“Mirka has co-taught with me since the mid 1980’s in the American Viniyoga Institute’s teacher trainings. She has done thousands of hours of both group and private instruction for both teacher trainees, yoga practitioners, beginners, and individuals suffering from some injury, illness, or disability – functioning as an educator as well as a yoga therapist. She has a deep understanding of the teachings and practices of yoga, as well as a compassionate heart and skillful communicator. She is one of the finest yoga teachers I have ever met.”
– Gary Kraftsow, Founder, Director, and Senior Teacher of the American Viniyoga Institute
“There are moments in life when the universe conspires to bring everything together to create the kind of experience that is timeless, and the Journey to Wholeness retreat in Assisi with Mirka Kraftsow was just one of those moments.
I came on this retreat not to escape from something in my life, but rather to fully return to that which I hold most essential, that which, in the flurry of my regular busy days, I may have fallen asleep. Mirka helped me to accomplish that and more.”
– Jeanne, Assisi 2012
“This retreat confirmed that yoga is the most amazing tool I have found for allowing one to get in touch with our true self, our spiritual essence, regardless of what religious or spiritual path one is on, and that the physical health benefits are just one of yoga’s small, yet important, tools/benefit. Mirka and Tammy were gifted guides on this quest, bringing wisdom, history, nature, beauty, spirituality, humility, and perhaps most importantly, a sense of reverence and awe to our sangha’s individual and collective presence in Assisi.”
– Craig, April 2019
“My experience at the yoga retreat in Assisi rose above all expectations. I came away feeling it to be a spiritual, cultural, introspective retreat with gentle physical awareness, all through the experienced, loving hands and heart of Mirka.”
– Cheryl, April 2019