Yoga Traditions

Sivananda Lineage and yoga styles

Posted on 2018-09-19

Sivananda Lineage

Sivananda yoga is a form of yoga that comes from Swami Sivananda's lineage. His disciple Swami Vishnudevananda introduced Sivananda yoga lineage to the west. As a result, the practice of Sivananda yoga gained popularity in different parts of the world. As a matter of fact, the yoga style is named after Swami Sivananda. This yoga style is propagated through the Sivananda Yoga and Vedanta Centers. However, these centers do not have any affiliation with Sivananda Yoga Ashrams.

Sivananda Saraswati was a yoga and vendata proponent, as well as well as a Hindu spiritual teacher. He was a medical practitioner in British Malaya for a number of years. He then left his career in medicine and started to focus on monasticism. Swami Sivananda established the Sivananda Ashram, at Sivanandanagar, a few miles from Rishikesh Himalayas.

His disciples

Sivananda’s disciples were very influential, and they played a significant role in spreading Sivananda's philosophies and yoga to the west. Swami Satchidananda was one of his disciples who developed integral yoga. Swami Vishnudevananda, as we have seen from above was the first person to open a Sivananda Yoga Vedanta center in Canada. Vishnudevananda played a very critical role in spreading the yoga methodology and philosophical points associated with Swami Sivananda. Also, he was able to spread Sivananda’s message to areas where he had not reached.
Sivananda yoga a Hatha Yoga type, which concentrates on an integrative style to yogic students. Also, this style focuses on yoga asana, mind control, meditation, and mantras. During a Sivananda yoga class, no music is played, as this allows students to remain focused on their practice.

Satyananda Yoga

Satyananda yoga is a yoga style developed by Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati. This yoga style incorporates traditional and ancient yoga practices and information borrowed from today's medical-physiotherapy. Satyananda was a guru, as well as yoga master in the West and India. Today his yoga teachings are spread in two ways—as Satyananda yoga tradition in the west, and as Bihar School of yoga in India.

The Satyananda form of yoga focuses on different traditional yogic practices in India on the same level. Also, it recognized the validity of these styles when it comes to spiritual development. Satyananda yoga is a bit gentle than other common yoga styles practiced in the west, and it involves the entire body.
Satyananda yoga students are encouraged to focus on inner awareness rather than increasing their health and stamina. This can assist the students to learn more about their personal aspects. By practicing Satyananda yoga on a regular basis with full consciousness, change happens naturally to your body. This teaches yogis to avoid forcing their body and mind beyond its boundaries when practicing yoga. When practicing Satyananda yoga, you get to practice the following:

  • Asanas – body postures
  • Shatkarmas – purification methods
  • Pranayama  - breathing techniques
  • Dhyan – Tantras meditation
  • Mantra yoga – repetition of divine sounds
  • Juna yoga
  • Karma yoga
  • Seva yoga

          Satyananda yoga focus on the following traditional methods:

  • Asanas – or body postures to help the body and mind achieve balance
  • Pranayama – breathing exercises which work on your energy body. These exercises are likened to Chi or Ki in other systems.
  • Meditation, which helps in calming and focusing the mind.

Satyananda yoga also adopts a broader outlook by training and inspiring yogic lifestyles. This applies not only to the renunciates, but also to lay and householder-practitioners. The practice of Satyananda yoga helps yogis to achieve peace of mind and clarity. In addition, you get to achieve reduced physical tension by practicing regular and gentle asanas.

Ishta yoga founders Sara and Alan Finger

Ishta Yoga

The full meaning of Ishta is an integrated science of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda. Therefore, Ishta yoga incorporates the method of balancing the vitalities in your nervous system and your body. This method is Hatha yoga—the physical yoga practice. This is according to Sarah Finger, who is an Ishta Yin Yoga trainer.

According to Sarah…

Tantra is the non-dualistic method of achieving consciousness, and experiencing awareness in everything, every being, and enjoying your life to its optimum level.

Ayurveda is an ancient India science of life. It helps in achieving a balance of the things that exist within and outside us. This science of life integrates these elements found in and outside our bodies.

Sarah continues to explain that Ishta yoga is derived from Svarajaja Ishta devata Sempra yogaha. This yoga sutra that means studying and knowing yourself completely helps you to achieve Ishta Devata. Therefore, the regular practice of Ishta yoga enables you to hear your calling more. Also, Sarah says that Ishta yoga is a combination of asanas and pranayama technique and meditation that assists a yogi to find consciousness.

So, what differentiates Ishta yoga from the other styles of yoga?

Ishta yoga has various styles that a yogi can practice. For instance, a yogi can choose a stronger vinyasa flow yoga class. Also, a yogi can have therapeutic class, ishta yin class or even meditation class. However, what differentiates ishta yoga from the other yoga classes is its tantric approach to its end goal—which is, nourishing yourself back to your original self.

Therefore, there is no a correct or wrong method of nourishing yourself back to your original self, as you can do it in a gentle restorative or through a vigorous practice.

This yoga style was created by yogi Swarandana Mani Finger, together with his son, Yogiraj Alan Finger. Both Mani and Alan created this style in South Africa in the late 60s. Paramhansa Yogananda introduced Kriya Yoga to Mani in Los Angeles, and then Sivananda introduced Kavi Yogi to Mani in India. For several years now, Mani and Alan have hosted various gurus at their home, including the famous Tantric maestro Shuddhas Barati, Swami Venkatesananda, who is Sivananda’s student and Krishnamacharya’s friend.

Alan and Mani created this yoga style with the aim of integrating and celebrating the different yoga lineages and teaching of yoga.

Integral Yoga

Integral yoga integrates everything—the spirit, body, and mind.

The primary goal of this yoga style, which is the birthright of every person, is to achieve spiritual unity behind the diversities of the entire creating. Besides, it helps us to live in harmony as we are from one universal family.

To achieve this goal…

We need to keep our bodies in their normal condition of optimum strength and health and control its senses. Besides, we need to keep the mind calm, clear, and well disciplined, and as sharp as possible. Our wills should be as pliable and strong as steel, our hearts filled with unconditional compassion and love. Lastly, our egos should be kept pure and fill our lives with supreme joy and peace.

The following are the different branches of integral yoga

  • Raja yoga – this is the path of meditation and concentration. It’s mostly based on mind control and ethical perfection, and it leads to a state of super consciousness or Samadhi.
  • Japa yoga – this is the focused repletion of mantras, which leads to mindfulness of, and attunement to the mantras.
  • Hatha yoga – asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), kriya (cleaning services), and relaxation to strengthening and purify the body and mind.
  • Karma yogathis the path towards selfless service. Here, you get to perform your duties without any attachment to what you achieve at the end. When you learn this, karma yoga becomes the mindful instrument of the will of the Divine.
  • Bhakti yoga – this the path of devotion and love to God, to a spiritual trainer or the personification of the Divine. Once you transcend your limited personality, you achieve union with the Divine.
  • Jnana yoga -  it directs you towards wisdom. By self-analysis, awareness, and study, you stop identifying yourself with your body and mind and spirit and realize the sense of oneness.

So, who is fit for integral yoga?

This yoga style is best suited for yogis who desire an approach that deals with their entire life. This includes spiritual, physical, interpersonal, and intellectual relationships. Integral yoga classes are accessible, gentle, and non-competitive. Besides, its teachers are very knowledgeable. This is because the yoga teacher training course is very comprehensive, thus producing knowledgeable and skilled teachers.

Para Yoga

Yoga is more than the ability to practice the beautiful poses or attaining the remarkable flexibility—this is based on yoga's ancient tradition. Yoga is more than your ability to sit quietly as you meditate. Also, yoga is more than having a stress free or pain free body. Yes, many people desire all that we’ve seen above, but there is one true test to accomplishing the goal of—your lifestyle quality.

In short…

The quality of life determines the quality of your yoga. According to ParaYoga, the practice of yoga should always empower you to succeed in every part of your life. In ParaYoga, you get to learn how you can differ how and what you practice. Once you are able to do that, you get to achieve different possible outcomes.

Each of these outcomes has its unique benefits. When dealing with an experienced ParaYoga teacher, he or she will be able to address your specific needs. This, in turn, assists you to achieve greater freedom and fulfillment, increased joy, capacity, and fearlessness.

Here are some touchstones of ParaYoga that outline how it positively impacts your life. The more you practice ParaYoga, the more you can:

  • Live your drive. Here, you can achieve and experience the precious joy of attaining your distinctive destiny. The foundation of how you positively influence your life and live a contented lies the understanding your soul's call. Then, it all depends on your courage and insight to act on this calling.
  • Teach yourself to learn how to achieve a tranquil and clear mind. Use the keys to shape your vital force knowingly.
  • Personify your ultimate balance, lasting peace, health, and freedom. This should happen through practicing the discernment of the ancient and time-tested knowledge.
  • Become a beacon of home, where you personify wisdom, compassion, and exemplary leadership.
  • Understand your source. Once you do that, you get to learn how to see and appreciate the gift of life.
  • Share your skills with others; give out the brilliance and power of your experience, accomplishments, and self-knowledge.

Skilled trainers who undergo years of training, testing, and personal practice support ParaYoga classes. These trainers personify ParaYoga's spirit, and they have the required experience to share their wisdom with their students.

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga is a primordial science and art that deals with the expansion and transformation of consciousness. Besides, it also deals with the rise and awakening of kundalini energy up the yogi's spine through chakras, which are energy centers. The balancing and activation of these energy centers are achieved by uniting and mixing cosmic energy (prana) with eliminating energy (apana). This generates pressures that force kundalini to raise through breathing exercises (pranayama), body locks (bandhas), exercise sets (kriyas), using gestures (mudras), postures (asana), and sacred sounds (mantras).

One exciting thing about kundalini yoga is that its sets use projection, visualization and concentrated attention to achieve specific effects.

By the practice of kundalini yoga, you get to unite your consciousness with cosmic consciousness. This, however, happens through the regular practice of meditations and exercises on specific combination and sequence.  As you perfect your skills in perceiving the energy movement inside and outside your body, and now start to consciously direct the energy flow to awaken and stimulate those chakras for healing yourself and others, you gain universal energies that make you a co-creator.

Kundalini yoga is a powerhouse for psychic energy, which is also known as Shakti, which has a symbol of coiled, sleeping serpent. This energy lies dormant and your spine’s base. Once this energy is aroused, it uncoils, and then rises through the spinal column’s central channel (sushumana), to the (Sahasrara) crown chakra. The crown chakra is found at the top of your head, and it triggers the awakening of consciousness as well as a superior spiritual state.

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