Sri Swami Sivananda was a practicing doctor who was eager to do all he could to relieve human misery.
In his search to ease his patients’ physical and mental discomfort, he decided to look within himself. He began his quest by becoming a swami or monk. After long years of secluded practice in the Himalayas, he attained mastery in yoga and meditation. Swami Sivananda went on to found the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh in the Himalayas.
Yoga for Everyone
For centuries, yoga was open only to people who were ready to search for a teacher in India. Traditionally it only appealed to those willing to forego the life of a “householder”, renouncing the world and living in seclusion.
Swami Sivananda (1887-1963) and Swami Vishnudevananda (1927-1993) were among the first of the Indian yoga masters to make yoga accessible to everyone, no matter their background, age, status, and where in the world they lived. In doing so, they helped to bring yoga to the West.
Sivananda Yoga teaches a traditional, exact, and easy-to-learn system that aims at naturally achieving the goal through creating a healthy body and mind that leads to spiritual evolvement.
Based in the teachings of Swami Sivananda, Swami Vishnudevananda summarized the yoga philosophy in five principles or the Five Points of Yoga which make the complex teachings of yoga easier to understand.
① Proper Exercise (Asanas) – Yoga poses help develop a strong, healthy body by enhancing flexibility and improving circulation.
② Proper Breathing (Pranayama) – Deep, conscious breathing reduces stress and many diseases.
③ Proper Relaxation – Helps keep the body from going into overload mode, easing worry and fatigue.
④ 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.
⑤ Positive Thinking (Vedanta) and Meditation (Dhyana) – These are the true keys to achieving peace of mind and eliminating negativity in our lives.