Sivanda yoga is one of the most popular yoga styles in the world. And with good reason. Sivananda yoga offers a complete system and offers something for the novice and experienced practitioner alike.
Sivananda yoga is named after Swami Sivananda Saraswati (right), one of the greatest yogis of the 20th century. Born in India in 1887 he was a qualified doctor. One day he treated a yogi who in return instructed him in yoga. His life changed from that point and he soon left to Rishikesh in the Himalayas where he met his guru and lived the life of a monk.
He wrote around 200 books on yoga and philosophy and his teachings can be summed up with his instruction to, “serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realise.” He died in 1963.
Sivananda’s work was carried to the West by one of his students, Swami Vishnu Devananda (left), and he is responsible for a large part of the worldwide popularity of yoga. After reading a pamphlet at age 20 he travelled across India and became a student of the great yogi.
Vishnu Devananda was a wonderful hatha yoga adept and was instructed by his guru to go to the West and spread the teaching. His tireless input resulted in the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres becoming an enormous worldwide organisation and reaching millions.
Sivananda yoga teacher training classes are now taught throughout the world. Swami Vishnu Devananda also wrote the classic yoga book, The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, which you can get from amazon.com
His philosophy is summed up in the 5 points of yoga. “Proper Exercise. Proper Breathing. Proper Relaxation. Proper Diet. Positive Thinking and Meditation.” In his books and schools all of these are given proper consideration.
The Sivananda Sequence of Yoga Poses
A typical Sivananda class consists of the following;
Corpse Pose (relaxation)….Pranayama
Neck and Shoulder Exercises….Eye Exercises
Sun Salutations….Leg Raises….Plough Pose
Bridge Pose….Fish Pose….Forward Bend
Cobra Pose….Locust Pose….Bow Pose
Half Spinal Twist….Crow Pose….Hands to Feet
Triangle Pose….Corpse Pose (relaxation)
This is the basic routine and once confident in these asanas there are variations and progressions that can be made.