What is Sivananda Yoga? Guide to Benefits and Poses

by Kate

Sivananda is one of the slower yoga styles with an emphasis on meditation, breathing and spirituality. Sivananda Yoga poses is currently one of the largest yoga schools and was introduced to the Western people by Swami Vishnu de Vananda in 1957. The pose is based on five areas of yoga philosophy: diet, relaxation/meditation, positive thinking, proper breathing and exercise.

Benefits of Sivananda Yoga

With a greater emphasis on spirituality and positive thinking, the Sivananda Yoga style is worth trying if you want to do yoga for meditation, stress relief and empowerment. It is also the recommended style for older yogis who wish to boost their vitality and recover or recharge their body. Sivananda also incorporates diet and positive thinking in each class, making it ideal for those who need to change their lifestyle positively.

Principles of Sivananda yoga

Principles of Sivananda yoga
  • Asana-correct exercise

Asana is considered one of the eight limbs of yoga practice and refers to the physical practice of yoga with exercise.

  • Bojan-Yojik / Vegetarian Diet

Diet (Bhojan) is an essential element of Sivananda yoga practice. Maintaining a yoga diet consisting of vegetarian meals, natural foods (apex) and avoiding processed foods promotes healing from the inside of the body.

  • Pranayama-correct breathing

Breathing is an involuntary behaviour, but we can control it. Pranayama allows you to control the way you breathe, improve the circulation of oxygen to the brain, and promote general relaxation of the mind and body.

  • Savasana-Relaxation

Savasana is a relaxation technique performed in a quiet resting position (Vishraam mudra). Savasana is the final relaxation posture (Antim Vishraam) at the end of the Sivananda yoga session.

  • Vedanta and Diana-Thought and Meditation

Vedanta refers to the optimistic approach you take to your daily activities, and Diana is associated with seeking a deeper awareness of yourself.

Precautions during sivananda yoga

Sivananda Yoga is a safe and effective method, but it is not recommended for:

  • Patients with cardiovascular disorders
  • Senior citizens
  • Women in the last months of pregnancy. Asana is dangerous and can affect fetal development.

Sivananda yoga poses

Sivananda is one of the yoga school’s worth visiting if you are looking for a fulfilling ashram experience. To help you in understating what Sivananda’s yoga practise looks like, few poses are below:

Fish pose (Matsyasana)

The position of the fish is an excellent backstretch and works tremendously to relieve lower back pain. Start by stretching your legs forward and lying on the floor. Then slowly and slightly lift the torso off the mat, making sure the hip/seat bones are kept flat on the ground and tilt your head back so that the crown touches the floor. Place your palms and elbows on the ground and your arms aside.

Fish pose (Matsyasana)

Plow position (Harasana)

This position is also called merely backstretch because it stretches the centre of the back, lower back, and hamstring. Depending on your level of practice and flexibility, you can run a modified version to hover your feet a few inches off the ground instead of touching the floor with your toes.

Plow position (Harasana)

Shoulder support (Sarvangasana)

Care should always be taken when performing yoga poses. This is especially true when performing more advanced flip poses, such as shoulder position. As the name implies, this pose involves lifting the body into the air with all of the weight on your shoulders. A variation of Sarvangasana is shoulder support. For shoulder support, place your hands under your back to keep your body upright and use your elbows to support your additional weight.

Shoulder support (Sarvangasana)

Standing Forward Bend (Pada Hasthasana)

Standing Forward Bend is one of the poses you need to learn if you want more flexibility. This is due to the excellent stretch from the centre of the back to the bottom of the back and the hamstring. The best way to do Pada Hasthasana is to start from the mountain position, raise your arms, rotate your hips and slowly bend forward. Stretch your arms as far as you can, lower your body slowly, bring your head closer to your knees, and move to a physically comfortable position. Always respect the limits of your body and remember that you will never work for pain, just for what is comfortable for you.

Standing Forward Bend (Pada Hasthasana)

Triangle position (Trikonasana)

The triangle is a good test of balance and alignment as it effectively stretches your legs and moves the muscles around your hips. One of the most important things to remember when taking this pose is always to bend your tailbones and keep your hips forward. Here you can immediately feel the soothing warm stretch from your feet to your hips. If possible, turn your head to the ceiling.

Triangle Alignment

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