Yoga is a universal, evolutionary science which has derived from the tantric and Vedic traditions. It has been transmitted down through the ages in an unbroken lineage of yogis, rishis and seers, who developed this science for the expansion and liberation of human consciousness.Yoga has traditionally been the art of living a physically, mentally and spiritually healthy life. It was a major method of healing and transcendence in Ancient India.
Yoga is science because it answers the basic questions about human existence and experience. It deals with the problems of human nature and human exigencies through a vast repertory of practical methods which aim towards purification, regulation and awakening of human potential.
It is a complete disciplining routine, involving all kinds of physical and meditative exercises. In today’s age where there is so much stress, people are turning more and more to yoga for mental and physical relief.It assists individuals and corporate institutions to realize their truepotential by reorienting their work and personal life, thus resulting in increased productivity and profits.
At present, Yoga is passing through a momentous period of growth and expansion with its rapid integration into modern society. At many levels we can see changes and new developments as yoga is being applied in different facets of life in a variety of new ways, such as:
- a form of therapy,
- a technique of health and stress management for executives,
- in education,
- in the Armed forces,
- for the retarded and handicapped,
- in prisons,
- for the aged,
- in rural sectors,
- and so many more.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow.
- Swami Satyananda Saraswati
- Yoga means ‘UNITY’ or ‘ONENESS’, derived from the Sanskrit word ‘YUG’, means to join.
- Spiritually, “Yoga is defined as the union of the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness.”
At the physical level, “Yoga is physical harmony and health.”
At the mental and emotional level, “Yoga can be defined asmental balance and mental peace.”
- So, on a more practical level, “Yoga is a means of balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions.”
Swami Sivananda explained,
Yoga as an integration and harmony between thought, word and deed, or integration between head, heart and hand.
Swami Satyananda saraswati defined:
- Yoga is a science of consciousness. (How to speed up the process of evolution.)
- Yoga is a science of unfolding the deeper powers of personality.
- Yoga is a science of creativity.
Patanjali, the author of yogasutra, defines yoga as
Sutra I: “Atha yoga anushasanam” meaning “Yoga is a discipline in life.”
Sutra II: “Yoga Chittavrittinirodha” meaning “Yoga is a complete cessation or control over the different patterns or modifications of consciousness/mind.”
- “Yoga KarmashuKaushalam” (Ch 2:50) meaning “Yoga is skill and perfection in action.”
- “Samatvam yoga Uchyate” (Ch 2: 48) meaning “Yoga is equanimity in success & failure.”
Bhakti Yoga is a system of Yoga in which love and devotion are given emphasis. Some of the Bhakti Yoga traditions do not preach the traditional Yoga asanas, pranayama, mudra or controlled meditation. In its place they lay emphasis on love of God, love of God in man and surrender to God’s will. Some people are naturally inclined by temperament to be devotional and to love God and God-as-the-world.
Hatha Yoga is an important Yoga type. Hatha Yoga is an easy form of Yoga and is very popular in the United States and other western countries. Hatha Yoga is said to be the basis of all Yoga systems. The word Hatha is made of two words, “Ha” and “Tha”, Ha means “sun” and “Tha” means “moon.” Thus, Hatha Yoga refers to positive (sun) and to negative (moon) currents in the system. The most suitable way to practice Hatha Yoga is to begin with a calm and meditative bent of mind.
Another popular Yoga type is the Jnana Yoga. Jnana Yoga emphasizes the use of the mind to surpass the mind i.e. to discern the mind. The aim of Jnana Yoga is to endeavor ceaselessly to explore knowledge and to know and understand. Jnana Yoga is eight-limbed, and its other seven limbs are detachment, self-discipline, longing for freedom, hearing the truth, reflection upon that truth, and meditation. Jnana Yoga aims at attaining liberation through knowledge and not by rituals and ceremonies. Knowledge attained by Jnana Yoga is through understanding of judgment and experience.
Karma Yoga lays emphasis on selfless action and service. The underlying message of Karma Yoga is very clear- humans must always work in harmony with the great power that controls and runs the universe. If we follow this we are no longer egotistically motivated. At the same time we no longer maintain obsessive desires in relation to the future. With the eradication of compulsive or obsessive desire, we are able to live in the present and at the same time can plan for the future. This planning about future is independent of boundation to the future.
Kundalini Yoga system is remarkably different than most of the religious systems of the world. Most of the religious traditions look forward to maintaining celibacy to attain spiritual growth. It is mainly because of this attitude that the thought, sexual involvement is detrimental to a greater development of self, has come into being. On the other hand, Tantra yoga suggests that sexuality can be a very powerful force that should be harnessed for increased self-awareness and consciousness. Thus, Kundalini Yoga is curious, in that it not only allows sexual feelings and contact, but uses sexual experience as a means to enlightenment and knowledge.
Mantras are words, phrases, or syllables which are chanted attentively and thoughtfully to attain certain goals. In the Mantra Yoga meditation one has to chant a word or a phrase until he/she transcends mind and emotions. In the process the super conscious is discovered and achieved. The rhythm and the meaning of mantras combine to conduct the mind safely back to the point of meditation- the higher consciousness or the specific spiritual focus. Different syllables, phrases and words possess their unique healing potential. Hence they are chanted at a specific time. As a tool to achieve stillness, the mantra is to be discarded at the moment stillness is achieved. Sometimes mantras are also applied to modify circumstances. In the chanting of the mantras it is of immense importance that they are pronounced properly or else all their intended effect would not come. For such purposes it is important that the proper pronunciation is imparted.
Purna Yoga or integral yoga is said to be an improvisation over the traditional Yoga systems of India. It was thought that the traditional Yoga system revolved more around salvation and next life rather than the present one. The integral Yoga lays more emphasis on the importance of Karma in day today life. Purna Yoga gives Yoga a positive and dynamic form. Integral Yoga suggests three levels of integration- the integration of the inner, the integration of the human psyche with its external environment, and the integration of the psyche with its ultimate spiritual Ground. Purna Yoga is a world-affirmative and body-positive spirituality that skillfully combines self-transcendence with love, compassion, and veneration for all life.
An important branch of Yoga, Raja Yoga is a one stop solution for complete and holistic healing. Raja Yoga possesses the positive power of influencing the life of human beings. Raja Yoga synchronizes the physiological system as a whole as well as transforms all spheres (physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, occupational, social and spiritual) of human existence. Raja Yoga therapy is truly a holistic treatment as it heals the principal mechanisms and the control of the whole person. Raja Yoga helps an individual to mitigate emotional and mental conflicts. Raja Yoga also brings lasting peace and satisfaction in one’s life. All these virtues make Raja Yoga a way of living.
Various Forms Of Yoga According To Specialization
Iyengar yoga which is the most widely recognized approach to Hatha yoga, is characterized by precision performance and the aid of various props, such as cushions, benches, wood blocks, straps, and even sand bags.
Ashtanga yoga involves synchronizing the breath with a fast-paced series of postures — a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind.
Bikram yoga is a system of 26 postures that are performed in a standard sequence in a room heated to 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. This approach is fairly vigorous and requires a certain level of fitness on the part of students.
Viniyoga focuses on practicing a posture according to one’s individual needs and capacity. Regulated breathing is an important aspect of Viniyoga, and the breath is carefully coordinated with the postural movements.
Kripalu yoga is a three-stage yoga. In the first stage, postural alignment and coordination of breath and movement are emphasized, and the postures are held for a short duration only. In the second stage, meditation is included into the practice and postures are held for prolonged periods. In the final stage, the practice of postures becomes a spontaneous “meditation in motion.”
Integral yoga made a debut at the Woodstock festival in 1969, where yoga expert Swami Satchidananda taught thousands to chant, “om.” This style aims to integrate the various aspects of the body and mind through a combination of postures, breathing techniques, deep relaxation, and meditation, and function is more important than form. In this style of yoga, breathing and meditation are emphasized as much as the postures.
Sivananda yoga includes a series of twelve postures, breathing exercises, relaxation, and mantra chanting.
Ananda yoga is a gentle style that is designed to prepare the student for meditation, involving consciously directing the body’s energy to different organs and limbs.
Satyananda Yoga/Bihar Yoga
It is one of the most authentic, pure and traditional style of yoga founded by Swami SatyanandaSaraswati. It is an integral yoga which includes all different form of yoga like Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Mantra Yoga and Bhakti Yoga as well as other branches and presents them in a unified package that is flexible enough to be applied according to individual needs.
Anandabodh follows Satyananda Yoga techniques in all of its pursuits.
What Is Satyananda Yoga?
Satyananda Yoga or Bihar School of Yoga is an internationally renowned system of yoga that is firmly grounded in tradition and adapted to suit the needs of contemporary living. It comes from a traditional system, which propagates pure and original form of yoga practices. It includes Hatha, Raja, Karma, Jnana, Mantra and Bhakti Yogas as well as other branches and presents them in a unified package that is flexible enough to be applied according to individual needs. Satyananda Yoga is a systematic, step-by-step approach to yoga, that aims to integrate all aspects of our being.
Satyananda Yoga offers the rare opportunity to experience and try out various aspects of yoga that include asanas, pranayama, relaxation, meditation, and shatkarmas (cleansing aspects), presenting them in a way which is meaningful & relevant to modern day life. All these options can deepen knowledge and practice, enrich the inner world and provide one with tools and skills to manage life’s journey.
Swami Niranjananda Saraswati
Swami Niranjananda Saraswati
Swami Niranjananda was born at Rajnandgaon, Madhya Pradesh in 1960. At the age of 4 he joined the Bihar School of Yoga and was initiated into Dashnami Sannyasa at the age of 10. From 1971 he travelled overseas and toured many countries for the next 11 years. In 1983 he was recalled to India and appointed President of Bihar School of Yoga. During the following 11 years he guided the development of Ganga Darshan, Sivananda Math and the Yoga Research Foundation. In 1990 he was initiated as a Paramahamsa and in 1993 anointed Preceptor in succession to Swami Satyananda. Bihar Yoga Bharati was founded under his direction in 1994. He has authored over 20 books and guides national and international yoga programs.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Swami SatyanandaSaraswati was born 1923 at Almora, Uttaranchal.
As a youth he was classically educated and studied Sanskrit, the Vedas and the Upanishads. He says that he began to have spiritual experiences at the age of six, when his awareness spontaneously left the body and he saw himself lying motionless on the floor. Many saints and sadhus blessed him and reassured his parents that he had a very developed awareness.
At age eighteen, he left his home to seek a spiritual master. In 1943 at the age of twenty, he met his guru Sivananda Saraswati and went to live at Sivananda's ashram in Rishikesh.Sivananda initiated him into the Dashnam Order of Sannyasa on 12 September 1947 on the banks of the Ganges and gave him the name of Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
In 1956, Sivananda sent Satyananda away to spread his teachings. Basing himself in Munger, Bihar, he wandered as a mendicant travelling through India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Burma and Ceylon for the next seven years (although on several occasions he said he travelled only through India), extending his knowledge of spiritual practices and spending some time in seclusion.
In 1962 Satyananda established the International Yoga Fellowship Movement (IYFM) in Rajnandgaon.IYFM inspired the establishment of ashrams and yoga centers spiritually guided by Swami Satyananda in India and all over the world.
In 1964, he founded the Bihar School of Yoga (BSY) at Munger, with the intention that it would act as a centre of training for future teachers of yoga as well as offer courses on yoga.
Swami Sivananda Saraswati
Swami Sivananda Saraswati
Swami Sivananda was born in Pattamadai, Tamil Nadu, India. A Hindu by birth, he is a well-known proponent of Yoga and Vedanta. He is reputed to have written over 300 books, on these and related subjects, during his life.
He went to medical school in Tanjore and worked as a doctor in Malaya. In 1923 he left Malaya for India on an extensive pilgrimage. At Banaras, he had the Darshan (vision) of Lord Vishvanath. Dr.Kuppuswami next went to Rishikesh where met his guru, Swami Vishwananda Saraswati. It was Vishwananda who initiated him into the Sannyas order and gave him his monastic name.
However, since Swami Sivananda spent only a few hours with Swami Vishwananda, the full VirajaHoma ceremonies were performed later by Swami Vishnudevananda (Not to be confused with his own disciple, Swami Vishnu-Devananda), the Mahant of Sri Kailas Ashram. Sivananda performed austerities for many years but he also continued to help the sick. With some money from his insurance policy that had matured, he started a charitable dispensary at Lakshmanjula in 1927. He later created the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy in 1945.
He returned to Rishikesh and in 1936 founded the new religious movement the Divine Life Society on the bank of the holy Ganges River. The free distribution of spiritual literature drew a steady flow of disciples to the Swami, including the young U.G. Krishnamurti, who studied with him for seven summers, Swami Sivananda organized the All-world Religions Federation in 1945 and established the All-world Sadhus Federation in 1947. He called his yoga the Yoga of Synthesis.Sivanandatraveled the length and breadth of India during his Parivrajaka (wandering monk) life. He visited important places of pilgrimage in the south, including Rameshvaram. He conducted Sankirtan and delivered lectures. He visited the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and met Maharishi Suddhananda Bharati. At the Ramana ashram, he allegedly had the Darshan of Ramana Maharshi on Maharshi’s birthday. He sang bhajans and danced in ecstasy with Maharshi’s bhaktas. He also went on pilgrimages to Kailas-Manasarovar and Badri.
He wrote excellent books on Hinduism and closely followed Advaita philosophy.
Satyananda Yoga is for Everyone
Satyananda Yoga does not postulate any political or religious beliefs. It provides everybody, regardless of social background, with tools for health, peace of mind and an inspired vision for their lives. People who practise Satyananda Yoga are of all ages, levels of fitness and come from many walks of life.
How Does Satyananda Yoga Work?
Through an approach that incorporates awareness of all aspects of being, Satyananda Yoga promotes the alignment of body, mind, emotions and spirit. Disease and mental stress can be relieved by awakening the individual’s awareness and inherent self-healing powers. By steadying the emotions and calming the mind, we gain a sense of perspective, bringing a feeling of peace, freedom and inner strength. Practices and teachings are designed to benefit the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual being that form the real meaning of a healthy body.
Teaching of Satyananda Yoga is very systematic. There are three levels of proficiency – Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced. After practicing and perfecting one level a practitioner is ready to advance to the next level.
Make Meditation part of your life, which will remove the impurities of the mind, and you would attain peace and bliss in your life!
- Master Shivachittam ( Founder & CEO )