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Sivananda Yoga – A Science of Well-being

- By Dwaipayan, 21 August 2020 | 4 MIN READ


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If you're a yoga enthusiast, you've undoubtedly noticed some benefits; perhaps you're experiencing better sleeping patterns or getting fewer colds, or just feeling calmer and at ease. Western science is beginning to offer some real clues about how yoga works to optimize health, heal aches and pains, and keep sickness at bay. Yoga could boost your immune system to fight against COVID 19.  As you understand yoga better, you will have even more reasons to step onto your mat

Yoga is an ancient Indian practice to promote good physical and spiritual health. It was Swami Sivananda who started the Sivananda Yoga, introduced it to the west with the help of his disciple Swami Vishnudevananda in the 1950s, making this style of practice an important part of yoga's initial wave of popularity outside India.

Sivananda became popular in India in the 1930s, when he founded an ashram in Rishikesh. He had earlier been a practicing physician. He was encouraged by western students who wished to study yoga and Vedanta. He established the Divine Life Society in 1936 to propagate his teachings.

Important Disciples

Sivananda's yoga moved to the west through his several influential disciples. One among them was Swami Satchidananda, who founded Integral Yoga. Another of his disciples Vishnudevananda who traveled to North America in 1957 and started the first Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Montreal, Canada.

To this date, there are Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers in major cities in the U.S., western Europe, South America, and Asia, as well as eleven ashram retreats.

The Philosophy

Sivananda method is centered on five principles for ideal health and spiritual development, as explained by Vishnudevananda. They are:

Proper exercise Asana, focusing on twelve poses

Correct breathing methods (Pranayama)

Appropriate relaxation methods (Savasana)

A good and healthy diet (Vegetarian)

Positive thinking and meditation

Exercises

A conventional class begins with pranayama exercises. After warming up with sun salutations, the spotlight is on mastery of the twelve basic poses in the following order:

1.      Headstand

2.      Shoulder stand

3.      Plow

4.      Fish

5.      Seated Forward Bend

6.      Cobra

7.      Locust

8.      Bow

9.      Seated Spinal Twist

10.    Crow or Peacock

11.    Standing Forward Bend

12.    Triangle

Savasana completes the class. The poses are ideally done gently and with control to stretch out and strengthen the body as well as open the chakras.

The 12 basic poses of Sivananda involve a little of everything: inversions, backbends, forward bends, twists, balances, and hamstring stretches. As students master the 12 basic poses, variations may be introduced.

Is Sivananda for You?

The objective of this practice is to stimulate physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. The asana system is fairly fixed, so one must enjoy working slowly and thoroughly to fully master the specified poses.

 

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