The Sivananda Tradition
"The Sivananda organisation has helped both of us to find clarity, direction and purpose in life. It holds a special place in our heart and we thank the Masters and the organisation for all that it has given us so far...for this very reason we devote our time to teach yoga and continue the mission" ~ Mahalakshmi & Siva
Swami Sivananda was born in 1887 in Pattamadai, Tamil Nadu, South India and left his body in 1963.
In his early life he was known to be a bright young man athletic and naturally attracted to a devotional and spiritual life. After studying hard at school he eventually went on to study at a medical school resulting in him becoming a doctor. He was lead to Malaysia where he run a hospital and treated the poor, often not even letting them pay for treatment so that they could save money for other necessities.
After serving as a medical doctor Swami Sivananda become more interested in preventing disease rather than curing, this then lead him on to the teachings of yoga and Vedanta.
With a desire to learn more about the teachings he went back to India in search of a Guru, eventually finding himself in the Himalayas and renunciation to become a monk where he then became Swami Sivananda Saraswati. After spending years practicing an intense sadhana (spiritual practice) and Tapas (austerities) he found many people being drawn to him, seeking spiritual advice and instruction.
From then on Swami Sivananda become one of the most renowned yoga teachers ever. He quickly became popular, eager to spread his knowledge on how to lead a simple and healthy life. Soon he accumulated many devotees and the Sivananda ashram was formed in 1932. Shortly after opened the Divine life society (1936) which became a home to spread his teachings and a place for many devotees to come and stay.
Swami Sivananda radiated his teachings worldwide through writing 300 books on yoga in English and trained many students to continue spreading the knowledge of his teachings. In 1957 he then sent one of his devoted disciples, Swami Vishnudevananda to the west where the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres were established.
The essence of the organisation and the teachings of Master Sivananda are summed up in few words: Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise.
Swami Vishnudevananda was born in Kerala, South India, in 1927. Known to be a determined being from a very young age, swamiji was often recognised for achieving anything he wanted.
Due to financial difficulties he could not attend university which lead him to joining the army to seek his education he desired. Whilst in the army he feel across a leaflet from the Sivananda Ashram titled “20 spiritual Instructins” by Swami Sivananda. The first instruction was “An ounce of pratice is better than tons of theory”. The leaflet left swamiji with a strong desire to visit the ashram and meet Swami Sivananda.
Not so long after Swamiji left the army to go and study at the Sivananda Ashram where he was trained by Swami Sivananda on all aspects of yoga. Swami Vishnudevanada made fast progress and quickly became a knowledgiby Hatha yogi. Swam Sivananda then instructed Swamiji to travel to the west to spread the teachings of yoga and Vedanta. With just a ten Rupee note he left for the west where he was soon to become the famous flying swami.
Swami Vishnudevanandas determination and energy led to him to opening the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. There are now many yoga centres and ashrams all around the world.
He began to train people to become yoga teachers, however not an ordinary yoga teacher he wanted to teach people how to integrate the philosophy and practice of yoga into their daily life. Which then gave them the tools to face the world. He simplified the complex teachings of yoga in to 5 mains points which are simple, affective and easy to understand.
Swamiji also devoted much of his life to world peace. He had a deep concern for the world and went on many “peace missions” trying to spread yogic teachings in times of world suffering. He devoted himself to helping this earth and still to this day his devotees are carrying on the mission of world peace.
My name is Marycruz (Mahalakshmi) and I have been practicing and studying yoga philosophy for just over a year.
Throughout many years I have been travelling seeking peace and happiness that I was un able to find, but when I discovered yoga I began to understand that I would only find happiness by working on the self.
My life has now change thanks to the philosophy and practice of yoga and for this reason I want to share everything I have learnt so far to aid others in finding that inner happiness.
Josh Lipscombe (Siva)
After leaving my first yoga class at the age of 16, stepping into the car I knew that there was something special and life changing about to happen. Everything was tingling and my solar plexus was throbbing, I had experienced my first state of relaxation. A few months later I found myself on a yoga teacher training course, excited to begin my deeper enquiry into yoga. The course I completed barely scratched the surface with regards to my understanding of yoga, however it did allow me to come into contact with the man that I still contact; my teacher Conrad Paul. He inspired me with his light and love to take my practice further and go to India and complete a teacher training in traditional Sivananda.
With a strong desire to learn more about yoga I followed his advice and went to India. I studied Vedanta, Pranayama, Asana, Dhyana and Bhakti yoga over the course of 4 weeks and they were the most life changing weeks so far in my life. I felt what it was like to experience inner peace and be given an initiation into my spiritual journey of serving the world.
I have been blessed to have experienced such bliss and clarity from my practice passed down through the masters of yoga and I wish to pass this on within our community in order to help others to create a better way of living both physically, mentally and spiritually.