„Health is wealth. Peace of mind is happiness. Yoga shows the way.”Swami Vishnu-devananda
Ayurveda and Yoga are like sisters. They both have the same goal and reach it by different means. Yoga practiced in the Western world has many forms. They are all united by asanas, or physical exercises. In India, yoga is a very old philosophy based on spiritual practice. There are also many forms of yoga there, but it’s different to the one in the West. In many traditions, instead of intensive exercise, there is meditation or mantra chanting, you devote your life to work for others or teach the philosophy of yoga.
What is it for me? Exactly what the word means. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ that means ‘union’, ‘wholeness’, ‘joining’. The unity of body, mind and spirit. Before I learned this, I just practiced yoga and did pranayama and meditation once in a while, but even then I felt how well it affected me. I didn’t practice on regular basis, there were longer gaps. I did it on my own at that time, without a teacher that would guide me. Only when I brought my body and soul to exhaustion by leading a life full of rush and tension, I fell into a school of Sivananda Yoga.
Sivananda Yoga is a classic yoga.
Its name comes from one of the biggest yogis of the XX century India, Swami Sivananda. The method has been brought to the Western world for the first time by one of his students, Swami Vishnu Devananda. He established a chain of Sivananda Yoga practice and teaching centers that have become popular in the whole world. Swami Sivananda believed that relaxation is what people need most in modern world and so he developed a yoga technique that sets deep relaxation and inner peace as its main goals. Classic yoga starts with breathing exercises – pranayama. Then we sequentially do 12 basic asanas, with short relaxation in between. The class ends with a deep relaxation.
It’s a form of hatha yoga with holistic approach.
With the practice we strengthen the body and keep it healthy, but also we care about our mental well-being. We do the asanas without equipment such as straps, lines or blocks. There are no mirrors in the studio and the practice is done with closed eyes. We focus on deep breathing and relaxing the body.
Swami Sivananda (1887 – 1963)
“Serve. Love. Give. Purify. Meditate. Realize.”
One of the great Indian yoga masters of the XX century. Swami Sivananda felt the need of helping others all his life and so he became a doctor. He entered his spiritual path when he realized that people also need spiritual help. He is an author of over 200 books about yoga written in English. He trained many great students who played a significant role in promoting classic yoga both in the West and in India.
Swami Vishnu-devananda (1927 – 1993)
„An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory.”
A student of Swami Sivananda, who in 1957 was sent by his master to teach yoga: ‘Go to the West, people are waiting’. For the next 35 years Swami Vishnu-devananda established yoga centers all over the world. Worldwide peace was his life mission. He was convinced that peace in the world cannot be reached without people reaching inner peace.
Swami Vishnu-devananda taught classic yoga in five basic steps:
- Proper exercise
- Proper breathing
- Proper relaxation
- Proper diet
- Positive thinking and meditation
I encourage you to read an article of Swami Vishnu-dewananda himself, that appeared in
Yoga & Ayurveda magazine. Article