Lineage & Teachings
A Living and Ancient Tradition
The teachings of Classical Yoga and Vedanta have been practiced for thousands of years in India.
Our lineage has been passed down by two prominent twentieth-century Yogis, Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda. Their shared teachings live on in our organization and in the Yoga community.
Swami Sivananda (1887–1963)
Swami Sivananda is one of greatest sages of modern India. After a successful career as a medical doctor, he renounced the world, practiced intense meditation and attained Self-realization.
As a prodigious author, he published more than 300 books and pamphlets, thus spreading all aspects of Yoga and philosophy in simple yet profound words.
In his ashram, the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh, Himalayas, he trained many outstanding disciples. In 1957, he sent one such disciple, Swami Vishnudevananda, to teach Yoga in the West.
Swami Vishnudevananda (1927–1993)
Swami Vishnudevananda lived with his master, Swami Sivananda, for 12 years. In 1957, he traveled to America, and in the early ’70s came to Europe, founding international Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers in many cities.
He was a dynamic Hatha and Raja Yoga master, bringing the classical teachings of Yoga and Vedanta in their purest forms to the West. Swamiji was also a tireless campaigner for world peace who brought the message of peace to many troubled spots all over the world.
Thousands of students have been personally trained by Swami Vishnudevananda as yoga teachers and many more have been inspired by his books, The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, Meditation and Mantras and Sivananda Companion to Yoga.
Swami Sitaramananda (born 1953)
Swami Sitaramananda is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda and was nominated acharya, senior teacher, by him in 1989. She is presently acharya of US west coast Centers and Ashrams, as well as Asia—especially Vietnam, China, and Japan. Swamiji has been director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, California for more than 20 years.
She is the author of Essentials of Yoga Practice and Philosophy (translated into Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese), Positive Thinking Manual, Karma Yoga Manual, Meditation Manual, 108 Yoga Health Tips, Swamiji Said: A Collection of Teachings by Swami Vishnudevananda in His Own Words, as well as two books of poetry. She also compiled Teachings on Yoga Life, rich with wisdom from her guru.
The Four Paths of Yoga
“Yoga leads us from ignorance to wisdom, from weakness to strength,
from disharmony to harmony, from hatred to love, from want to fullness,
from limitation to infinity, from diversity to unity, from imperfection to perfection.”
—Swami Sivananda in Bliss Divine
The Yoga of action is the path often chosen by those of an outgoing nature. Purify the heart by practicing selfless action without thought of gain or reward. By detaching from the fruits of actions and offering them to God, the ego can be sublimated.
This is the yogic path of devotion. It involves prayer, worship and ritual, including chanting, and singing devotional songs. and those who practice it eventually come to experience God as the embodiment of love.
Raja Yoga, which includes Hatha Yoga, is a science of physical and mental control. It offers a comprehensive method of regulating the myriad waves of thought by transforming mental and physical energy into spiritual energy.
The yogic path of wisdom or knowledge involves studying the philosophy of Vedanta. It teaches ways to examine the self and analyze human nature. The goal of this form of Yoga is to recognize the Supreme Self in yourself and in all beings.
The Five Points of Yoga
The ancient wisdom of Yoga synthesized into concise and clear principles
Yoga poses help develop a strong, healthy
body by enhancing flexibility and
Deep, conscious breathing reduces stress
and many diseases.
Conscious relaxation eases worry and fatigue and helps the body heal.
Eating simple, healthy, vegetarian foods that
are easy to digest has a positive effect on the mind and body, as well as the environment
and other living beings.
Positive Thinking + Meditation
Positive thinking techniques can change negative patterns and tendencies. Meditation leads to happiness and peace of mind.
Swami Vishnudevananda, the founder of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers compiled an Asana Sequence in 12 Basic Postures for the West to regain health, vitality and peace of mind. The Asana Sequence is simple and can be modified for all practitioners, Beginners, advanced students, children, pregnant women or seniors. The Sivananda Yoga Class consists of Pranayama (Breathing Exercises), warm-up exercises (Sun Salutations and leg lifts), the Sequence in 12 Basic Postures and a guided final relaxation.
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