navakaraṇa vinyāsa methodology (by Dario Calvaruso)


A brief on Navakaraṇa Methodology


Definition of Navakaraṇa Vinyāsa

Navakaraṇa Vinyāsa literally means “Composition of the nine units of movement” from the Sanskrit terms “nava” (nine), “karaṇa” (movement)  and “vinyāsa” (composition). From a spiritual  prospective Navakaraṇa stands for the “continuous transformation” of the individual and in all of his/her aspects.  “Nava” (new or continuous changing), “karaṇa” (process of transformation).


Navakaraa Vinyāsa

Dario Calvaruso developed Navakaraṇa Vinyāsa™ Methodology after over 20 years of study, research, practice and teaching. This method re-systematises the ancient practice and teaching of karaṇas and vinyāsa.

Every sequence includes the nine essential categories (nava-karaṇa) of exercise:

neutral (sama), posterior stretch (pṛṣṭha-dairghya), anterior stretch (agra-dairghya), side-stretch (pārśva-dairghya), twisted-stretch (parivṛtta-dairghya), inverted (viparīta), balancing on the limbs (aṅga-ādhāra), strengthening (tejaskara) and recovering (punarnavīkāra).

The first syllabus named Navakaraa Vinyāsa Mālā consists of 30 sequences (krama) arranged into 12 series. The sequences (krama) include compositions of movements and postures given in progression, thereby allowing practitioners to personalise the practice according to their own levels. Every sequence works integrally and holistically on the physical, praṇic and mental level. Indeed every sequence has a specific anatomical focus and character.

Navakaraṇa Vinyāsa classes are generally taught following a particular routine for the practice. This routine named Navakaraa Kraa Maṇḍala consists of 12 Morning Intensive Classes which cover the  full syllabus of 12 series in two weeks programme. Thus, participants practise a different series every day for the whole two-week routine. Series are taught in a led-class format with options for every level from beginner to advanced.   The varying of sequences helps to target different muscles, develops a wider range of skills, speeds up progress, optimises the results and minimises the risk of injuries. The morning practice generally closes with prāṇayāma and dhyāna.

Dedicated practitioners and teachers interested in the practice and/or teaching can learn the full syllabus under a meticulously structured Teacher Training Programme named Navakaraa Vinyāsa Hdayam.

Navakaraṇa Vinyāsa Hṛdayam (lit. The Essentials of Navakaraṇa Vinyāsa) focuses on how to practice and teach the complete collection of 12 series. The syllabus is divided in 4 distinct modules. Each module of 108 hours consists in a in-depth study, practice and teaching skills training of three series. The syllabus of 12 series is therefore covered in 4 Teacher Training Modules (432 hours). For more detail please visit our page: Navakaraṇa Vinyāsa Hṛdayam (The Essentials of Navakaraṇa Vinyāsa).


The Artistic Perspective of Navakaraa

Navakaraṇa is an bi-dimensional art-form. It is a systematised methodology for vinyāsa practice and also an art of self-transformation. Navakaraṇa systematises the methodology and practice of vinyāsa. Sequences are developed using particular compositions just like a choreographer would have choreographed a dance, a musician a song or a poet a poem. Movements (karaṇa) are arranged into compositions (vinyāsa) with defined frameworks and choreographic rules which are based on kinesthetics principles. The result is harmony and beauty. From a spiritual prospective Navakaraṇa aims to inculcates into the practitioner the seed of self-enquiry and self-discovery. This would lead into a continuous process of self-transformation in all the aspects of the individual.


The origins of Navakaraṇa vinyāsa

Dario Calvaruso developed Navakaraṇa Vinyāsa as a method for self-practice. The methodology  is applied for teaching dedicated students in both one-on-one setting and  group classes. Dario created Navaraṇa by bringing together teaching from different but inter-related fields (practical sciences):

The spiritual aspects from his spiritual master Svāmi Jñānānada Bharati (Himalayan yogi, India), the physical aspect from his  Haṭhayoga master Pandit Om Prakāśa (Varanasi, India), the technique of movement and choreography from his Bharataṇāṭyam master Nāṭyācarya Vṛnda Rāmanan (Trichy, India).  Navakaraṇa reached the shape of a method  only after two decades of studies and researches which Dario accomplished under the guidance of  Prof. Śrī Rangasvāmi Sourirājan of the Śrīrangam Veda pāṭha-śāla who guided me in the study of yoga śāstra-s, and his Prof. Śrī Rangasvāmi Tirunārāyaṇan who has been patiently guiding him in the study of Sanskrit language and ancient scriptures”.


The antiquity of Karaṇa Vinyāsa

According  to the Tantra, the knowledge of Karaṇa was originally revealed from Adi-Naṭ (Śiva) to his consort Pārvatī (Śakti). The name Adinaṭ is very significant in this context as it means the “primordial dancer” but also the “primordial yogi” (ādiyogi). This strongly emphasises the correlation of haṭha-yoga and karaṇa. Śakti passed this knowledge to the saptarṣi or seven sages. Vedic Saṃhita-s actually never enumerate the list of the saptarṣi by name. Only later in the Brāhmaņa-s and Upaniṣad-s we can find the list of their name. The name mentioned in the scriptures are slightly different from each-other. The first list of saptarṣi is mentioned in the Jaiminīya Brāhmaņa which was probably written during the 6th century BCE  includes: vaśiṣṭha, bharadvāja, jamadagni, gautama, atri, viśvā-mitra and agastya. These  seven sages were instructed with different aspects of haṭha-yoga and they were sent in seven different directions in order to reach everyone. It was only through them that this knowledge and many other śāstra-s was brought to the present days. The knowledge of the Tantra is kept secret and it has been passed only verbally from master to pupil (paraṃparām). It is still absolutely inaccessible to anyway outside the linage.

Haṭha Yoga indeed is only a small part of the Tantras. It is important to understand that in any case even the practice of “Haṭha” in its genuine form is not meant for the masses. Haṭha Yoga in fact means “forceful method”. It is based on penance (tapa) and on very strenuous mental and physical exercises, which are assertive, vigorous and powerful. Such practice could be very dangerous and could be also misused if passed to an ordinary person.


Naṭ sampradāya

The Great Nine Masters we invoke in the Navakaraṇa Prayer  after Adi-Naṭ (Śīva) are:

Vaśiṣṭha, Bharadvāja, Jamadagni, Gautama, Atri, Viśvā-mitra, Agastya, Matsyendra-naṭ and Gorakṣa-naṭ.



A brief on the the Principle of Navakaraṇā Vinyāsa


Click on the links below to view the topic:

The karaṇa (unit of movement)

Auxiliary components of the Karaṇa:

The Nava-karaṇa or prāthamika-karaṇa (nine units of movement or  primary units of movement)

The pañca-vinyāsa (the five classification of compositions)

The pañca-krama (the five classification of sequences)

The Sāraṇī (flow of compositions or series)

Glossary Sanskrit Terms


Coming soon:


mātṛkā (the combination of two karaṇa-s / one complete cycle of breath)

vinyāsa (the combination of two or more mātṛkā-s and the five fundamental types of vinyāsa)

krama (sequence or the order in which vinyāsa-s are arranged)

alaṃkarana (ornamentation)

śūnya-karaṇa (void unit of movement)

maṇḍala (cycle of upakrama-s)

vibhāga (the classification of vinyāsa based on the number of mātrā-s)

sāraṇī (series or the classification of sequences)



Navakaraṇa Blog’s vision 

Navakaraṇa Blog is a platform for:

– discussing and improving methodology

– sharing tips on practice and keep you updated on Navakaraṇa’s events

– create a worldwide community

– evolving by helping each other


  1. Carol

    What is raja yoga?
    What is the very purpose and essence of yoga practice in your point of view?
    How to achieve it?
    Can you tell me more about your first vinyasa experience in1998, please?
    Why it was the turning point of your yoga practice?

  2. Dario Calvaruso (Author)

    Ciao Carol,

    Rāja Yoga literally means Royal Yoga. It is called Royal because it is the culmination of Yoga practice. Yoga is the first philosophy which beside logic thinking, austerity and non-attachment stands on physical and psychological technique. Yoga is experience not beliefs. Rāja Yoga focuses on the Samayama. The Samayama are three: dharaṇā (concentration), dhyāna (continuos focus concentration) and samadhi (spiritual absorption). My practice and philosophy it is quite different form that of Patañjali. Anyway I prefer to use the words of Patañjali to explain you what is Rāja Yoga, as it is very important at first learn according to traditional scriptures.

    tadevārthamātranirbhāsaṁ svarūpaśūnyamiva samādhiḥ . PYS । 20 – [III.3]
    (tadeva-artha-mātra-nirbhāsaṁ svarūpa-śūnyam-iva samādhiḥ)
    tad = thus; there; hence;
    eva = the same; actually
    tadā = precisely when
    artha = object;
    mātra = only; alone
    nirbhāsā = luminous; radiant
    svarūpa = own form; own nature;
    śūnyam = empty; devoid of
    iva = as if
    samādhiḥ = spiritual absorption; enlightenment; transcendent state

    The same itself, having the manifestation of the object alone as
    devoid of its own form is spiritual absorption is samādhi.

    As the result of prolonged meditation, cognition merges with the object of cognition. The
    cognition and object of cognition nullify themselves, one with the other. In this state
    there is not cognition, not beatitude, not anything else as all the feelings belongs to
    Nature (Prakṛti). At this stage there is cessation of all mental operations. It is a state of
    spiritual absorption (i.e. asaṁprajñāta samādhi) beyond explanations.
    Samādhi has different stages. There are mainly two types of samādhi:
    saṁprajñāta samādhi [I.17] and asaṁprajñāta samādhi [I.18].
    Saṁprajñāta samādhi is of four kinds: gross (vitarka or accompanied by
    argumentation), subtle (vichāra or accompanied by deliberation), blissful (ānanda or
    accompanied by pleasure), and with I-ness (asmitā). Further, vitarka and vicāra have
    each two varieties: savitarka, nirvitarka, savicāra and nirvicāra. In savitarka the mind
    concentrates on objects, remembering their names and qualities; in nirvicāra without
    any notion of their qualities. In savicāra stage the mind concentrates on the five
    tanmatras with a remembrance of their qualities; in nirvitarka stage without
    remembering their names and qualities. A more advance stage is ānanda. In the ānanda
    state the mind concentrates on the buddhi with its functions of the senses causing
    pleasure. Further stage is asmitā where the intellect concentrates on pure substance and
    where mind operations are subjugated. In all these stages the mind consciously
    concentrates with knowledge of the object and are therefore are called of Saṁprajñāta
    type (Saṁprajñāta i.e. with knowledge of objects). In these different stages of
    Saṁprajñāta samādhi the impressions (saṃskāra-s) of past actions are not destroyed as
    there is a support (ālambana) also known as bīja (seed). These are therefore classified
    as spiritual absorption with support (sālambana samādhi) or spiritual absorption with
    seed (sabīja samādhi).

    To attain final emancipation the yogi has to achieve Asaṁprajñāta samādhi (or
    nirodha samādhi). Asaṁprajñāta samādhi has no object in which attention is absorbed,
    wherein only latent impressions remain. Hence is know as spiritual absorption without
    support (nirālambana samādhi) or spiritual absorption without seed (nirbīja samādhi).
    Asaṁprajñāta samādhi is preceded by the constant practice of Saṁprajñāta samādhi. At
    this stage the gross and subtle fluctuations of mind recede back into the field from which
    they arose and mind is deprived from any object. Through uninterrupted absorption into
    Asaṁprajñāta samādhi afflictions (avidyā, asmitā, rāga, dveṣa, abhiniveśa) and
    impressions of actions (karmāśaya, saṃskāra-s, vāsana-s) are gradually destroyed.

    tataḥ kleśakarmanivṛttiḥ. PYS । 21 – [IV.30]
    (tataḥ kleśa-karma-nivṛttiḥ)
    tataḥ = thereafter
    kleśa = afflictions
    karma = actions (impressions of actions)
    nivṛttiḥ = cessation
    From that, there is the cessation of afflictions (5 afflictions:
    avidyā, asmitā, rāga, dveṣa, abhiniveśa) and (impressions of)
    actions (karmāśaya, saṃskāra-s, vāsana-s).
    There is liberation when there is purity of sattva [III.56].

    Saṁyama is the culmination of yoga practice and cannot be achieved without mastering
    the previous stages. The process is as follows: the yogi first of all as to restrain himself
    from the self-indulgence, selfish purposes and hedonistic lifestyle by practicing universal
    ethical principles known as yama. As this point the yogi is ready to follow certain kind of
    observances known as niyama. Yama and niyama are the foundations of Yoga. Once the
    yogi is self-confident with yama-s and niyama-s can practice of yogāsana-s.  sana-s are
    very strenuous postures that brings extraordinary physical abilities, strength, lightness
    and purity. After mastering yogāsana-s, the yogi is ready for the praṇāyāma which
    purifies and brings steadiness and of mind. With the mastery of praṇāyāma the yogi can
    withdraw the senses from their objects and confines the senses in their inner realm
    (pratyāhāra and dhāraṇā). Through prolonged meditation, cognition merges with the
    object of cognition and gradually all the impurities are destroyed. Now, buddhi shines as
    the pure light of our consciousness (puruṣa – the Self). As this point the mind-complex
    (citta) will not be able to bind the liberated Self again. The Self having passed beyond
    the bondage of guṇa-s shines as pure consciousness. At the time of universal dissolution
    (pralaya) the liberated Self will not longer return back to Prakṛti (as the bondage with
    the guṇa-s has been destroyed) and will be ever liberated from the cycle of birth and
    death (saṃsāra).

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