Sivanda Yoga

“Health is wealth, peace of mind is happiness, Yoga shows the way.” This was how Swami Vishnudevananda (1927-1993) his 30-plus years of work both in the West and in India together.It was never his intention to create a path of yoga with the style name “Sivananda Yoga”. This was a matter for the western phenomenon of Yoga styles, as well as the name “Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres”, the global non-profit organization founded by him.

1957 Swami Vishnudevananda began on behalf of his master Swami Sivananda (1887-1963) to travel from the Indian Rishikesh from a thoroughly pragmatic message the world: the “5 points of Yoga” – Yoga exercises (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) , deep relaxation in Savasana, vegetarian diet and positive food for thought from the Vedanta philosophy with Introduction to meditation. Swami Vishnudevananda constantly referred to this practical demonstration of the classic 8-step training system of Raja and Hatha Yoga by Patanjali. “Simplify / clarify” So tell by simplifying, was an important part of his teaching method.

Peace and contemplation

1978, when I first set foot a Sivananda Yoga Centre, these principles were palpable in the air: a quiet and natural atmosphere, marked by some incense, mixed with the aroma of steamed vegetables and cumin.In the small kitchen
a vegetarian cooking class was a group of students came straight out of the asana hour and chatted with the teacher in German and English. In addition to the locker was a small meditation room, from the intense stillness was felt. In the coming months I gradually understood that lived in this serene spiritual oasis in a small space a real yoga community whose members early in the morning intensively practiced and share a great project had: to fill the spiritual vacuum in the urban society.

“Serve, love, give, purify yourself, meditate and realize.” (Swami Sivananda) These teachings are the spiritual strength of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. Inspire worldwide spiritual seekers to live a life of charity
and spiritual unity. ✤


Yoga energy unit

In a short time I learned the classic practice range with two breathing exercises, sun salutation and the twelve main asanas, in a high value on a balance of postures, breathing and Sivanda Yogabeing added relaxation. It also has a variety of asana variations flowed with. It taught different teachers and to “drop-in” -Yogastunde unannounced several participants came. But if after the final relaxation of the final mantra singing with a common “Om Shanti – Om Peace” ended, more than just individual welfare lay in the air: The Yoga Energy the unit had all brought together. In the center library, I found dozens of Swami Sivananda’s books, then still mainly in English. In simple language there the four classical yoga paths declared: Jnana (philosophy), Bhakti (devotion), karma (selfless action) and Raja / Hatha (mental and physical exercises). Most impressed me Swami Sivananda’s commentary of the classical yoga scripture Bhagavad Gita, in which the seemingly different paths of yoga flowed together in a practical recipe for everyday life: acting with responsibility and-attachment and the wonderful view to the immutable awareness are pointing. Swami Vishnudevananda never exhibited his Indian origin in the foreground. He used elements of Hinduism, to convey the depth of feeling of Bhakti Yoga better.Sanskrit terms are only applicable uses, as it was absolutely necessary for understanding the Vedanta philosophy. Through his intensive travel and teaching, he succeeded in bringing together people of different languages and religions in common yoga and meditation practice. Here, the cultural background of the individual fused with a deeper, more simply human culture. Swami Vishnudevananda did not mince his words when he reproached the Western way of life the mirror: “A king size cigarette leads to king cancer.” “Is Coca Cola the real thing” “Modern man dies 50 and 70? buried. “At the same time he had great respect for the discipline and seriousness of Western yoga students. Not “Thinks it automatically would have Yoga from your culture inherited: In India, he urged his compatriots out.Which one of you is willing to work with yoga actually changing his lifestyle, as more and more people in the West really do? ”


Swami Sivananda (1887-1963)

✤ Indian yoga master and doctor
✤ Intensive study and practice of yoga and meditation in Rishikesh, Himalayas
✤ establishing the “Divine Life Society” in Rishikesh (Ashram which has now developed into a world famous Yoga Institution)
✤ publish more than 200 books ( in English) on all aspects of yoga
✤ training of yoga masters who helped the classical yoga world to high recognition (z. B. Swami Vishnudevananda, Swami Chidananda, Swami Krishnananda, Swami Satchidananda, Swami Venkateshananda)
✤ establishing the “Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy “in Rishikesh (model for teachers’ training Course in the west)
Personal ✤ correspondence with yoga students around the world


Yoga teacher for peace

Due to a recurrent experience of meditation Swami Vishnudevananda decided in 1969 to train yoga teachers as peace ambassadors. He repeatedly stressed: “Only if you yourself experience the power of yoga as a means to inner peace and understanding, you can also help others to release with Yoga this inner potential.” In addition to the four-week Yoga Teacher basic training was in the seventies an advanced training, and in the eighties finally a Sadhana intensive course in which you practice gradually up to nine hours daily pranayama and asanas. One must mention that the planted seeds of Swami Vishnudevananda Yoga teacher peacekeeping mission with today about 50 a year training by the Sivananda organization has grown rapidly worldwide and that this work is still taking place exclusively on a voluntary level course. But actually, the number of yoga teachers is not as important as the fact that Yoga thereby gaining acceptance in all conceivable walks of life. Those looking for Yoga, can find yoga. How far he comes, depends primarily on which setting and patience to be a teacher is at his side and what example he gives his personal practice. Given an incident that I witnessed the last visits Swami Vishnudevananda in Germany itself: As on 9 November 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, Swami Vishnudevananda was thrilled. He was even flown in September 1983 with a motorized hang glider over the wall from West to East Berlin, to convey his message: “not Overcomes manmade borders with guns and bombs, but with flowers and love.” A week after the Mauerfall he came to Berlin. He visited the farmers in East Berlin, on whose farm he was then landed a surprise visit. Then he wanted to meet the president of the GDR, Egon Krenz,. He was just in a parliamentary session. The party bureaucrats at the counter of the “consultation of the President” indicated that a meeting with Egon Krenz was not possible. What followed was a masterful demonstration of the power of Ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truthfulness). Swami Vishnudevananda sat down demonstratively on the sidewalk in front of the exit gate of the Palace of the Republic and meditated. When responding him after a while the guards, he congratulated them for early reunification and told them that he wanted to “congratulate” even the President. After a long wait the protocol secretary of government of the GDR appeared. He too congratulated Swami Vishnudevananda, handed him a signed copy of the “Great Illustrated Yoga book” and asked him if he would book to present to the President. Looking into a corner of the protocol secretary replied with a diplomatic “Yes”. As Swami Vishnudevananda then looked him straight in the eye and vigorously “Really?” Asked his opponent was very nervous. He stuttered almost and promised to convey the message of peace to the President. Soon after, the dark blue-President Volvo drove out of the gate. Egon Krenz did keep the car, got out and walked toward Swami Vishnudevananda. The encouraged him necessarily maintain the opening of the wall within the meaning of peace. What some might just sounds like an interesting anecdote, could serve as a guide for the rapidly spreading yoga movement in the West. Yoga for many, yoga for all? Yes, but it should pay attention are always directed at the individual. Just as yoga can show the tremendous power, with which one can overcome one’s inner and outer limitations. ✤

“Only if you yourself experience the power of yoga as a means to inner peace and understanding, you can also help others to release with Yoga this inner potential.”
Swami Vishnudevananda

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