Posted by Ilan
on Feb 25, 2011 in Sivananda Yoga
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Sivananda Yoga is based on the teachings of Swami Sivananda. It is a non-proprietary form of hatha yoga in which the training focuses on preserving the health and wellness of the practitioner.
Sivananda Yoga teachers are all graduates of the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course, and students widely range in age and degrees of ability. Sivananda training revolves around frequent relaxation, and emphasizes full, yogic breathing.
In 1957, Swami Vishnudevananda on instructions from his guru, Swami Sivananda, came to the West to bring the teachings of yoga. He established the first Sivananda Yoga Vedanta centre in Montreal, Canada, in 1959 and to date there are close to 60 Sivananda locations (ashrams, yoga centres and affiliated centres) around the world. Over 26,000 teachers have been trained in the teachers training programs.
Swami Vishnudevananda, one of Swami Sivananda’s first students, summarized the yoga philosophy in 5 principles or the Five Points of Yoga which make the complex teachings of yoga easier to understand:
- Proper Exercise (Asanas) – Yoga poses help develop a strong, healthy body by enhancing flexibility and improving circulation.
- Proper Breathing (Pranayama) – Deep, conscious breathing reduces stress and many diseases.
- Proper Relaxation – Helps keep the body from going into overload mode, easing worry and fatigue.
- Proper Diet – Eating simple, healthy and vegetarian foods that are easy to digest notably have a positive effect on the mind and body, as well as the environment and other living beings.
- Positive Thinking (Vedanta) and Meditation (Dhyana) – These are the true keys to achieving peace of mind and eliminating negativity in our lives.
Along with the Five Points of Yoga, a look at the Four Paths of Yoga completes the picture to give individuals a clear sense of direction for not only a healthier and stronger body but also a way of living that promotes peace and mindfulness to counteract day-to-day trials and tribulations.
The Four Paths of Yoga all lead to the same place – union with the Divine – but help in getting there by giving options that fit different human temperaments and approaches to life.
- Karma Yoga (also known as the yoga of action) teaches to act without egoist expectations in all endeavours of daily life ~ home, work, school. It is a good path with someone who is outgoing and enjoys a certain sense of spiritual activism to help others.
- Bhakti Yoga (also known as the path of devotion) is a good path for someone with an emotional nature and enjoys prayer, worship and seeking God through unconditionally loving others. The rise of kirtan or singing/chanting the names of God is a sure sign that Bhakti Yoga is a growing path around the world.
- Raja Yoga (also known as the Science of the mind) is the path that takes us on a comprehensive journey to understanding our mind and thoughts. Through mental control, we are able to gain control of the physical body and the life force energy known as prana. This is a good path for those who are interested in meditation and its effects on the mind.
- Jnana Yoga (also known as the yoga of knowledge) is considered a good path for those with strong intellectual tendencies as it requires great strength of will and mind. Using Vedanta as a vehicle, the inquiry into the individual nature is the key to this difficult path. It is best undertaken after some of the lessons of the other paths have been well understood in order to move along towards Self-realization or profound spiritual awakening.
There are three Sivananda locations in California. The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Marina Del Rey, near Los Angeles, serving Southern California, the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in San Francisco, and the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm near Grass Valley, California.
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