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Sivananda Yoga

A typical Sivananda practice lasts 90 minutes and begins with an initial relaxation (savasana), breathing exercises (pranayama), a complete warm-up (surya namaskar / sun salutations) and a sequence of 12 postures (asanas).

Relaxation between each posture is vital to reduce the build up of lactic acid and for the vital energy (prana) to recharge the body.

The constant switch between effort and relaxation enables the body to get out of the fight or flight mode and more naturally function in the para-sympathetic mode and thus start repairing and healing itself. The benefits of this are a more engergised, rejuvenated clear-minded self.

Typical Sivananda class:

  • Savasana (initial relaxation)
  • Surya namaskar (warm up)
  • Shirsasana (head stand, not for beginners)
  • Sarvangasana (shoulderstand)
  • Matsyasana (fish, counterpose to the above)
  • Pashchimotanasana (forward bend)
  • Bhujangasana (cobra, lower back exercise)
  • Ardha salabhasana (locust, lower back exercise)
  • Dharunasana (Bow, lower and upper back exercise)
  • Arha matsendrasana (half spinal twist)
  • Kakasan (balancing posture)
  • Pad hathasana (standing forward bend)
  • Trikonasana (triangle)
  • Final relaxation

Based on the teachings of Swami Sivananda 1887 – 1963, Sivananda is a non-proprietary form of Hatha yoga with an equal focus on relaxation and the mental and spiritual wellbeing of the practitioner as well as the obvious physical benefits. The yoga of synthesis, blending the practices of the heart, body, intellect and mind.

To simplify the concept of yoga for the western world, Swami Vishnu-Devananda distilled yoga philosophy into 5 fundamental points to create a simple-to-follow guide to healthy living.

  • Proper exercise – Asana
  • Proper relaxation – Savasana
  • Proper breathing – Pranayama
  • Proper diet – Vegetarian
  • Positive thinking and meditation – Vedanta and Dhyana

An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory – Swami Sivananda

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