Sivananda Yoga

The restrain of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.
The Yoga Sutras, Master Patanjali, Book 1, Sutra 2

Sivananda Yoga is the path to inner peace. This practice helps me to be aware of my mind fluctuations so I can act to transform my agitation into a calmer state of mind.

Sivananda YogaThe method

Sivananda Yoga is a classical and holistic approach to Hatha Yoga. By practicing this method we learn how to strengthen and harmonize the body, the mind and the soul, so that we can achieve our goal of a healthy body, a balanced mind and inner peace. This style of yoga helps remove inner obstacles and gives us the fortitude to stay cool, calm and collected when confronted with the everyday challenges of modern life.

The classes

Generally a moderate physical practice designed to provide optimal physical health, a calmer nervous system, reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Each class includes mantra chanting, breathing exercises, sun salutations, practice of twelve postures and relaxation.

The Sivananda method condenses the essence of the yoga teachings into five principles for physical and mental health as well as spiritual growth:

  1. Proper exercise (Asanas) — Enhances the flexibility of the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. The asanas improve circulation, massage the internal organs and improve organ function. A flexible and strong spine enhances blood circulation and keeps the body young and strong.
  2. Proper breathing (Pranayama) — Connects the body to its battery, the solar plexus, which is an enormous reservoir of energy. Deep, conscious breathing boosts our daily energy reserves – stress and many diseases (for example, depression) can be alleviated in this way.
  3. Proper relaxation (Savasana) — If the body and mind are subjected to constant overload, their performance suffers. A few minutes of physical, mental and spiritual relaxation counteract worry and fatigue more effectively than several hours of uneasy sleep.
  4. Proper diet (vegetarian) —  is one that is simple, natural and health promoting, and can be easily digested and assimilated by the body. It consists of food products that have the most positive effects on the body and mind, while having the fewest negative effects on the environment and on other creatures.
  5. Positive thinking and meditation (Vedanta and Dhyana) — are the keys to peace of mind. By controlling the movements of the mind, we can eliminate negative thought patterns and experience deep inner peace.

The inspiration

Swami Sivananda (1887 – 1963) one of the great saints of modern times is the inspiration behind the International Sivananda Yoga Organization. Born in India, he served for many years as a medical doctor before renouncing worldly life and establishing the Sivananda Ashram and Divine Life Society in Rishikesh. As a prolific writer, he authored more than 300 books that offer knowledge and spiritual guidance to millions around the world. His mission can be summarized in his slogan:

“Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize; Be good, do good, be kind, be compassionate; Enquire ‘who am I’ know the Self and be free.”
Swami Sivananda

Swami Vishnudevananda (1927 – 1993) Recognized worldwide as an authority on Hatha and Raja Yoga founded the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers in 1959, and to date there are close to 60 Sivananda locations around the world. After spending 12 years with his guru Swami Sivananda, he was sent to the West to disseminate the teachings of Yoga and Vedanta. He was a fearless and dynamic leader for world peace and wrote the now classic – Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga and Meditation and Mantras.

“Health is wealth, peace of mind is happiness, yoga shows the way.”
Swami Vishnudevananda