HH Sri Swami Sivananda 1887-1963 was a great Yogi and Sage who devoted his life to the service of humanity and the study of Vedanta. His prescription for a spiritual life is summed up in six simple commands “Serve, love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize”. Sivananda Yoga, which is a classical form of Yoga, is based on five basic principles:
Yogic physical exercises are called “Asanas” a term which means steady pose. Yoga postures focus first on the health of the spine, its strength and flexibility. By maintaining the spines flexibility and strength through exercise, circulation is increased and the nerves are ensured their supply of nutrients and oxygen. Asanas also work on the glands and internal organs, as well as the muscles. Performed consciously and slowly Asanas go far beyond mere physical benefits.
Most people have forgotten how to breathe and do what is called shallow breathing through the mouth and only use a fraction of their lung capacity with shoulders hunched. A full breath should start at the abdominal area continue through the intercostals (rib) and Clavicle (collar bone) areas. This way breathing is slow and deep and proper use is made of the diaphragm.
The pressure of fast modern living takes its toll on our ability to lead a balanced life creating stress and anxiety which can cause a variety of disturbances in the body. At the end of every Sivananda class lying in Savasan a complete physical relaxation is practised. Using auto suggestion; beginning at the toes and moving upwards through the body. Messages are sent to the various parts of the body and the internal organs.
The Yogic diet is a vegetarian one consisting of pure natural foods which promote good health. Simple meals aid digestion and assimilation. Fruits vegetables seed grains and nuts preferably organic and locally grown produce ensures that a good supply of all your nutritional needs are met.
Positive thinking and Meditation:
The mental ability to concentrate is inherent to all; it is not extraordinary or mysterious. When we do something we like and enjoy we concentrate wholeheartedly on it, whether it be a recreational activity or a creative project.
We feel happy when we have achieved something because we were able to concentrate. When the mind is fully concentrated, time passes unnoticed as if it doesn’t exist. Meditation is best achieved by the constant observation and calming of
The Sivananda class begins with a short relaxation followed by simple eye and neck exercises, breathing techniques come next and are followed by Surya Namaskara (sun Salutations) to mobilise the joints and warm up the major muscle groups. The body will then be ready for the Asanas (postures). The class has a set sequence of 12 postures (which have many variations) and there will be a relaxation. It’s an ideal class for beginners as it allows them to get used to the same sequence and deepen their understanding of the postures. Beginners can pace themselves and easily monitor their own progress through the various stages of the postures.