What is Sivananda Yoga?

Sivananda Yoga

Sivananda yoga is a yoga style with a holistic and classical approach that aims to stretch and tone the body. It was devised in 1936 by Swami Sivananda. Even today, its tenets are intact and this yoga style is practiced all over the world in the same format. Sivananda Yoga also involves relaxation training and yogic breathing.

Philosophy Behind Sivananda Yoga
  • Proper pranayama breathing
  • Poses to exercise the body
  • Shavasana to promote mental relaxation
  • Yogic diet consisting of vegetarian food
  • Meditation, positive thinking and study of scriptures

Features of Sivananda Yoga

  • Prayers and chanting to begin and end classes
  • Postures are held for a longer time
  • Pranayama practice is essential
  • More focus and awareness of breathing

A Typical Session of Sivananda Yoga
A typical session involves 12 poses to increase flexibility and strength, and promote proper breathing and meditation. The sequence of 12 poses is called the Rishikesh series after the holy pilgrimage town in India, where it was developed. The session then continues onto two pranayama exercises and finally ends with the deep relaxation of Shavasana.

To start, students lie in Shavasana. Then, they do Anuloma Viloma and Kapalabhati breathing techniques. This is followed by the rounds of sun salutation or Surya Namaskar. Then, the characteristic 12 basic poses are performed. Each session lasts for an average of 90 minutes.

Benefits of Sivananda Yoga
Sivananda yoga improves physical balance and mental poise. After every pose, there is relaxation. As a result, students feel rejuvenated, rested and relaxed after the class. Sivananda yoga maintains body vitality, slows down aging, and reduces the risk of disease by improving the body’s defense system. Regular practice can strengthen and tone the body’s muscle groups.

Who was Swami Sivananda?
Swami Sivananda was a renowned yoga master who was initially a doctor. But, his selfless spirit urged him into social service and spirituality. He became a monk and started practicing austerities. Swami Sivananda is the author of greater than 200 books on philosophy, spirituality and yoga. He founded the Divine Life Society which still renders yeoman service to the poor and needy in India and other parts of the world.

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