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Swami Sivananda and his Sivananda Yoga Tradition

by Sarah Ayoub
Sivananda yoga

The Sivananda Yoga tradition was founded by Swami Sivananda (1887–1963) remains one of the most influential spiritual teachers and leaders of the 20th century. His loyal disciple Swami Vishnudevananda, founder of International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres and Ashrams, was sent to the West to practice and promote Sivananda’s teachings on health, peace, unity in diversity, and self-realization.

In this course, you’ll learn from longtime Sivananda teachers about the tradition, its essential practices, and how leading a spiritually focused life begins with small daily steps and evolves over time. Through stories and discussion, you’ll learn about the scope and reach of the lineage and how its teachings and practices can be employed to enhance your connection to self, community, and the oneness that we are all part of.


Some great facts known about Swami Sivananda are: 

  • Engaged in humanitarian work as an esteemed doctor in Malaysia
  • Intensive study and practice of yoga and meditation in Rishikesh and the Himalayas
  • Established the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh 
  • Published more than 200 books in English on various aspects of International yoga
  • Trained outstanding yoga masters across the world
  • Established the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in Rishikesh,
  • Carried on personal correspondence with International yoga students worldwide

Swami Sivananda integrated all known yoga systems, teaching yoga of synthesis which is the basis for the modern practice of yoga in the West. “Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize” – these teachings are the spiritual strength behind the Sivananda Yoga Centres and have inspired spiritual aspirants around the world to live a life of brotherly love and spiritual unity.

The mission of Swami was Universal peace. He was convinced that outer peace cannot exist without inner peace. He became the first yoga master in the West to develop a comprehensive training program for International yoga teachers, who would then inspire countless numbers of people in turn.

His appeal to mankind has always remained, “Man is free as a bird, overcome man-made borders with flowers and love, not with guns and bombs!”

Swami sivananda

The first Sivananda Yoga Centre in Europe (Vienna) is established in 1974 and today there are more than 70 Sivananda Centres and Ashrams worldwide. In 1985, the first Teachers Training Course was set up in Europe (Spain). 

Swami Vishnudevananda taught classical yoga in five basic points:

1. Proper exercise (Asanas)

2. Proper breathing (Pranayama)

3. Proper relaxation (Savasana)

4. Proper diet (vegetarian)

5. Positive thinking and meditation (Vedanta and Dhyana)

“Health is wealth, peace of mind is happiness, yoga shows the way.”
The life and legacy of Swami Sivananda and Vishnudevananda remain as an inspirational story to all International Yoga aspirants who look up to his teachings and values.

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