What is Yoga?
"The primary purpose of the practice of yoga should be to integrate the different planes of one’s personality and at the same time to evolve the consciousness to gain greater knowledge of oneself. In this way any person anywhere in the world can fulfill his/her long cherished wish."
- Swami Satyananda
The proliferation of yoga in modern day society has taken on many forms. Now, more than ever, individuals seek personal growth. Yoga is a tool for the development of the personality with the aim to bring about greater awareness. Yoga is about creating balance and harmony in one’s life. In the context of rapid growth of Yoga throughout the world, Satyananda Yoga remains an authentic, holistic and systematic approach to unlocking human potential.
Authentic. Holistic. Systematic.
Satyananda Yoga has a long-established worldwide presence and is gaining an important presence in North America. It is authentically grounded in the ancient Vedantic, Samkyha and Tantric traditions. Satyananda Yoga draws from the branches of Hatha, Raja, Karma, Bhakti, Jnana, and Mantra yoga and integrates yogic traditions to create a systematic approach to meet the needs of modern day society.
Satyananda Yoga is a holistic system that acknowledges that spiritual development involves the mind, body and actions. Satyananda Yoga is often referred to as the Yoga of the Head, Heart and Hands, the integration of which is necessary for the development of human potential. The head represents intellect, the heart represents compassion and the hands represent action. Yoga is achieved when these three aspects of self are balanced.
Satyananda Yoga was developed by Swami Satyananada Sarawati and is derived from the teachings of a strong lineage of gurus. The tradition aims to develop the intuitive self and to offer a solid scientific foundation for the development of yogic practices. Satyananda Yoga gurus have long been devoted to the systematic advancement and accessibility of the yoga through in-depth instruction, publications and research.
Satyananda Yoga is the first modern yoga tradition offering university level diplomas. The Bihar Yoga Bharati was the first government accredited yoga university, offering degree programs. The Satyananda Yoga Academy of Australasia (SYAA) offers government accredited diplomas, which are also available through licensing by the Atma Center, the North American provider of Yogic Studies and Teacher Training.
In the past 40 years, nearly 150 books have been authored by Satyananda Yoga devotees in all aspects of Yoga including history, philosophy, applications and heath management. These books are complimented by thousands of published articles and the publication of the monthly magazine "Yoga" (www.yogamag.net). Most of these materials are readily available to the public. The tradition is also grounded in applied research with dedicated research entities in India and Australia.
Satyananda Yoga is suited to anyone who is looking for an integrated approach to their physical, mental, and spiritual development. Satyananda Yoga® classes are balanced between physical postures (asana), breathing (pranayama) and meditation practices. Satyananda Yoga is suitable for people of all ages, sizes, and physical abilities. Studio classes, workshops, conferences and a more intense exploration in Yogic Studies or Teacher Training courses are available in various locations throughout the world.
Swami Sivananda was a spiritual visionary of the 20th Century and an inspiration for the Satyananda tradition. He was born in Tamil Nadu, India in 1887. In 1924, Swami Sivananda renounced his longstanding medical practice in Malayasia and went to Rishikesh where he was initiated into Dashnami Sannyasa by Swami Vishwananda Saraswati. Inspired to bring yoga to the masses, Swami Sivananda tirelessly toured throughout India, inspiring people to practice yoga and lead a divine life. He founded the Divine Life Society at Rishikesh in 1936, the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy in 1945, the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in 1948 and the Sivananda Eye Hospital in 1957. During his lifetime Swami Sivananda guided thousands of disciples and aspirants all over the world and authored over 200 books.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati is a spiritual guide to tens of thousands and the founder of the Satyananda Yoga® tradition. He was born in 1923 in Almora. At the age of nineteen he came to live and take sannyasa from his guru Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh. There he tirelessly served in the ashram for over 12 years. Upon leaving, he wandered through India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Burma and Ceylon for the next 8 years, extending his knowledge of spiritual practices. He eventually found his way to Munger, Bihar. In 1963 he founded the International Yoga Fellowship Movement and the Bihar School of Yoga a year later. He traveled around the world for the next twenty years teaching yoga ‘shore to shore and door to door,’ and authored over 80 books on Yoga, Tantra and Spirituality.
In 1988, he retired from active involvement in yoga teaching and handed over all he had created to his disciple Swami Niranjanananda. He went on to live in seclusion in his ashram in Jarkhand, India, where he continued to inspire others to support the local community and improve their quality of life. In 2009, after participating in and giving darshan during Sat Chandi Mahayajna and Yoga Poornima, he bid final farewell to the thousands who had gathered to participate in these events and entered into Mahasamadhi at midnight on December 5th.
Remember that although Paramahamsaji may have left his body, he will remain alive in all our hearts, for as long as we remember him, and adhere to the path of wisdom, yoga & spiritual life, which he exemplified through his life and teachings. View live video recordings and webcasts of the memorial programs with North American Gurukul here.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati is a modern master of yoga, whose understanding spans both the scientific Western culture and the mystical wisdom of the East. Swami Niranjanananda was born in 1960 in Rajnandgaon, Madhya Pradesh, India. He is considered by his followers to be a yogi from birth. He began his training at Bihar School of Yoga in India at the age of four. Beginning in 1971, at the age of eleven, he toured extensively in Europe, America and Australia.
In 1983 he returned to India and was appointed the Preceptor of Bihar School of Yoga. For the next eleven years, he spearheaded the research and development activities at Ganga Darshan, Sivananda Math and the Yoga Research Foundation. In 1990, he was initiated in the tradition of Paramahansa and in 1993 he was designated as the successor o Paramahansa Satyananda. In 1994, he established Bihar Yoga Bharati an institute for higher studies in the field of Yoga. Swami Niranjanananda exemplifies the harmony and fortitude of a yogi and he inspires all who encounter him.
In addition to steering the activities at Munger, he travelled extensively to guide seekers around the world till 2009, when he received the command to embark on a new phase of sannyasa life. Author of many classic books on yoga, tantra and the upanishads, Swami Niranjan is a magnetic source of wisdom on all aspects of yogic philosophy, practice and lifestyle. He ably combines tradition with modernity as he continues to nurture and spread his guru's mission from his base at Munger.
Swami Satyasangananda is a yogic master and scholar who embodies compassion with clear reason. From the age of 22, Swami Satsangi experienced a number of inner awakenings which led her to her guru, Swami Satyananda. From 1981, she traveled ceaselessly with Swami Satyananda in India and overseas, developing into a scholar with deep insight into the yogic and tantric traditions as well as modern sciences and philosophies. A truly inspirational teacher and gifted writer, Swami Satsangi is the author of major texts on yoga and tantra. Her ability to articulate ancient teachings from yogic, tantric and vedic texts and bring these into a modern context makes Swami Satsangi an ideal teacher to transmit the wisdom of her guru’s teachings.
Swami Satsangi’s mission has been the establishment of Sivananda Math in Rikhia, where she guides all its activities. Swami Satsangi has dedicated herself to fulfilling her guru’s vision of uplifting the neglected, impoverished and downtrodden villagers in the surrounding areas of the ashram, by implementing the cardinal teachings of Paramguru Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati: Serve, Love, Give. She has devoted her life to her guru’s vision.
On January 1st 2007, she was appointed as the Peethadhishwari of Rikhiapeeth by Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Presently she resides at Rikhia, working tirelessly for the material and spiritual upliftment of the local community. She travels nationally and internationally carrying the light of Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati's and Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati's teachings to all.
Yoga Academy of North America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and a subsidiary of North American Gurukul, Inc. YANA's mission is to provide high-quality education in the Satyananda tradition. YANA also works to provide scholarships to deserving students and to inform the public about the benefits of Satyananda Yoga.
Students from across the USA and from countries such as Israel, Colombia, Spain, Poland, and India have participated in the Yogic Studies and Teacher Training programs offered in Cleveland. YANA maintains a residential facility for visiting faculty and students. You are welcome to arrange a personal appointment to tour our studios, meet the staff, and look over course materials - visit the YANA website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 216.371.9760.
Atma Center, founded by Beverly Singh (Swami Atmarupa) in 1997, is a Satyananda Yoga® Center located in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Atmarupa has been dedicated to making the teachings of Satyananda Yoga more broadly accessible in North America. As a result, the Atma Center has become a hub for education and training in the Satyananda tradition. Atmarupa has seeded two independent nonprofit organizations to carry forward the growth of Satyananda Yoga® throughout North America - the North American Gurukul, Inc (NAG) and the Yoga Academy of North America (YANA). NAG is positioned to become the umbrella organization for the growth of Satyananda Yoga in North America and is governed by an independent board of directors. The Atma Center continues its leadership as a city yoga center in the Satyananda tradition, offering yoga classes, yogic lifestyle retreats, and hosting special events and workshops with Satyananda gurus and acharyas. Click here to learn more about Atma Center programs and services.
Swami Niranjanananda photo ©Geoff Oliver Bugbee