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Yoga - Sivananda


Sivananda yoga was developed by Swami Vishnu-devananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda for whom this style of yoga was named. Sivananda yoga follows a set structure that includes postures or asanas, breathing, relaxation, diet and positive thinking.

Principles of Sivananda

Yogic practices are traditionally classified into one of four paths, which are:

  • Jnana Yoga – the yoga of wisdom
  • Bhakti Yoga – the yoga of devotion
  • Karma Yoga – the path of selfless service
  • Raja Yoga – the royal yoga that involves the mind (hatha yoga is a branch of this form of yoga)

Sivananda takes from all of these four paths of yogic practice. This form of yoga also has five main paths that students are encouraged to follow. These paths are:

  • Exercise – this is done through asanas or postures. The postures act to improve circulation and flexibility, but as well as the physical benefits; the postures provide mental benefits such as greater concentration and meditation.
  • Breathing – also known as pranayama, breathing correctly connects the body to the solar plexus, in which a great deal of energy is stored. By breathing correctly, this energy is released and used for physical and mental rejuvenation.
  • Relaxation – relaxing fully is an essential part of keeping the body and mind healthy. There are three levels of relaxation in this form of yoga – physical, mental and spiritual.
  • Diet – students are encouraged to adopt a vegetarian diet in order to eat food that has the most positive effect on the body and does the least harm to the environment.
  • Positive thinking and meditation – this is done to relieve stress, replenish energy, improve concentration and to achieve peace of mind and spiritual strength.

The Twelve Postures

The twelve basic postures in Sivananda yoga are:

  • Headstand (Sirshasana)
  • Shoulder stand (Sarvangasana)
  • Plough (Halasana)
  • Fish (Matsyasana)
  • Forward bend (Paschimothanasana)
  • Cobra (Bhujangasana)
  • Locust (Shalabhasana)
  • Bow (Dhanurasana)
  • Spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
  • Crow pose (Kakasana) or peacock pose (Mayurasana)
  • Standing forward bend (Pada Hasthasana)
  • Triangle (Trikonasana)

Sivananda Classes

Sivananda yoga provides a moderate intensity workout and starts out quite forcefully. Students start by completing twelve sun salutations before going into the twelve postures that are outlined above. The postures are performed with breathing techniques. Chanting mantras are also employed and these are designed to work through the chakras.

Visit the Natural Therapy Pages local directory to find a yoga practitioner in your area.


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