Sivananda Yoga

A way to physical and mental well-being


About Sivananda Yoga

International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres

The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre is a not-for-profit organization named after Swami Sivananda – one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the 20th century.

It was established in 1957 by Swami Vishnudevananda, a close disciple of Swami Sivananda, to practice and teach the ancient yogic knowledge for health, peace, unity in diversity and Self-realization.

Swami Sivananda

(1887 – 1963)

One of the great saints of India, Swami Sivananda is the inspiration behind the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.

He served for many years as a medical doctor before renouncing worldly life and establishing the Sivananda Ashram and Divine Life Society in Rishikesh, Himalayas.

A prolific writer, he authored more than 200 books that offer knowledge and spiritual guidance to millions around the world. His mission can be summarized by his saying:

“Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize.”

Swami Vishnudevananda

(1927 – 1993)

Recognized worldwide as an authority on hatha and raja yoga, Swami Vishnudevananda founded the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres in 1959.

After spending 10 years with his guru, Swami Sivananda, Swamiji was sent to the West to disseminate the teachings of Yoga and Vedanta.

He was a visionary, dynamic leader for world peace, and he wrote the practical classics Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga and Meditation and Mantras.

The Flying Swami

Swami Vishnudevananda‘s Peace Missions

Throughout his life, Swami Vishnudevananda was deeply concerned about the well-being of the world and the constant disaster of wars. This led him to learn to fly and then personally pilot a small plane over several troubled areas of the world.

Not only did he create discussion and awareness in the news media, but he also “bombarded” these war-torn areas with flowers and peace pamphlets.

“Overcome man-made boundaries not with bombs and guns but with love and flowers”.

In 1983 he flew an ultra-light aircraft over the Berlin Wall from West to East.

The 5 Points of yoga

By Swami Vishnudevananda

After closely observing the lifestyles and needs of people in the West, Swami Vishnudevananda noted that the ancient wisdom of Yoga can be synthesized into five basic principles, which can easily be incorporated into our own lifestyles to provide the foundation for healthy living. It is around these five principles that the activities of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres are based.


Proper Exercise (Asanas)

Yoga asanas enhance the flexibility of the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments and stimulate circulation. Flexibility and strength of the spine keep the body youthful.


Proper Breathing (Pranayama)

Yogic breathing connects the body to its battery, the solar plexus, which is an enormous storehouse of energy. Stress and depression can be overcome by breathing more deeply and with increased awareness.


Proper Relaxation (Savasana)

If the body and mind are subjected to constant overload, their performance suffers. Yoga relaxation techniques not only help to relieve existing stress symptoms (like muscle tension and breathlessness) but also help develop resistance against external stress factors.


Proper Diet (vegetarian)

A vegetarian diet is healthy, natural and simple to prepare. It is digestible and easy for the body to absorb. It consists in proper food choices which have the most positive effect on body and mind, at the same time causing the least harm to other living beings and the environment.


Positive Thinking and Meditation (Vedanta and Dhyana)

Are the keys to peace of mind. By controlling the mind, we can eliminate negative thought patterns and experience inner peace.

The 4 Yoga Paths

A combination of the following four practices or paths leads to the harmonious development of the physical, emotional and intellectual aspects of life.

Hatha and Raja Yoga

Control of body and mind

Here the focus lies on the balance and control of body and mind. Asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises) and silent meditation are the most well-known practices. As the practice intensifies, the physical and mental energies become more subtle and one finds inner balance.

It is especially suitable for people who strive for inner and outer change.

Karma Yoga

The path of action

Selfless action, without thinking about possible success or failure. Karma Yoga serves to purify the heart and lessens the influence of the ego on words, deeds and relationships.

It is well suited to active, extroverted people.

Die vier Yoga Wege

Bhakti Yoga

The path of devotion

Surrender to the Divine through prayer, rituals and mantra chanting. A path that develops more love towards all beings.

It appeals particularly to people who are more emotional.

Jnana Yoga

The path of wisdom

It begins with the study of the scriptures of Vedanta philosophy. By analysing human nature, one ultimately learns to recognize the Supreme Self in oneself and in all creatures.

This path is especially suitable for intellectual people.