Sivanada Yoga is based on the teachings of Swami Sivananda. It is yet another approach of the Hatha Yoga and emphasizes on the overall well being of the person with proper relaxation and disciplined breathing techniques instead of the modern day athletic approach to Yoga. The Sivananda Yoga bases itself on five major principles:
These principles are the basis of Sivananda Yoga as they strengthen the immune system ad also protects the body from premature aging and other diseases.
The founder of Sivananda Yoga was Swami Sivananda Saraswati. He is regarded as one of the most prolific Yoga teachers of the 20th century. He rarely left Rishikesh, the town where he lived, but his Yoga teachings spread throughout the world. In his lifetime, he wrote more than 200 books on Yoga and Philosophy which are regarded as assets as the literatures on Yoga.
Sivanada Yoga was introduced to the West by Swami Sivananda's student Swami vishnudevananda, Sivanada Yoga was an instant hit in the West and also one of the initial schools of Yoga practiced there. It is still one of the most popular approaches to Yoga.
The main aim of Sivananda Yoga is to focus on the toning and strengthening of the muscles of the body. It advocates the correct and perfect practice of the Yoga Asanas in the daily practice. As quoted by Swami Sivananda:
“An ounce of practice is worth tons of theory.”
Sivananda Yoga sessions commence with Savansana followed by Kapalabhati and Anuloma Viloma, and then rounds of Surya Namaskara. After that begins the series of 12 major Asanas, or poses. If one has to master Sivananda Yoga, one has to master these poses for sure, some of which are fairly advanced. These 12 Asanas primarily focus on strength, flexibility, proper breathing and meditation. It is also known as the Rishikesh series, after the name of the town where Swami Sivananda Saraswati dwelt. Two breathing exercises follow after the Rishikesh series. The session ends in the final relaxation. A typical Sivananda Yoga session lasts for about 90 minutes.
Sivanada Yoga also emphasizes on the following points:
Sivanada Yoga is about maintaining a physiological balance and attaining a state of mental poise through the Pranayama and Asanas. It is about making the person feel relaxed and rejuvenated after each Sivananda Yoga session. It increases the vitality of the body and increases the immunity power, thus, cutting down the chance of decaying and disease in the body.