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What is Sivananda Yoga?

Updated on December 26, 2015

Origin and Birth of Sivandana Yoga

Sivananda Yoga is a style of yoga that is based solely on the teachings of Swami Sivananda, which is one of the greatest yoga masters in the modern century. The system used in this particular yoga style focus on enabling the yoga practitioner to attain overall health and wellness improvement. Before a teacher is able to teach this particular yoga style, s/he must have graduated first from the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course.

One pleasant aspect about this yoga style is that it can be practiced by a wide range of age and ability. Unlike other yoga styles that involve a great deal of intense physical activities, this one is leaning more towards bending and stretching exercises that promote relaxation and emphasize the need to integrate yoga exercises with proper breathing. In fact, it has outlined its own set of core yoga postures that are performed in a sequence, which eventually leads to the performance of Shavasana or the Corpse Pose that signify your attainment of complete relaxation in yoga practice.

Five Essential Points

The philosophy of Sivananda Yoga comprise five basic points that are all intended to improve vitality of the body. Other benefits include slow down of the body's natural decaying process and natural ability to fight disease. The overall system for Sivananda yoga are outlined based on the following 5 major principles:

  • Proper Exercise
  • Proper Breathing
  • Proper Relaxation
  • Proper Diet
  • Positive Thinking and Meditation

12 Core Sivananda Yoga Postures

The objective of attaining self-realization through the practice of Sivananda Yoga relies heavily on the physical execution of yoga exercises. Hence, Swami Sivananda has outlined his own particular sequence of yoga poses to be executed during practice to fully nourish the body leading up towards its main goal. To be specific, there are a total of 12 poses included in a single sequence of Sivananda yoga exercise that lead to Shavasana or complete relaxation.

Hence, a certain level of meditative awareness is vital for one to achieve the benefits that correspond to each of the following poses.

Yoga: Sirsasana (Shirshasana, Headstand) step-by-step, variations

#1: Headstand

According to the philosophy of Sivananda Yoga, this is one of the most beneficial poses in the sequence. This pose promotes supply of blood into your brain, which consequently affect overall body function. In addition, you will attain a new level of mental sharpness, concentration ability, and improved memory.

#2: Shoulderstand

Like the Headstand, this particular pose is essential for proper body function. It affects your thyroid and parathyroid glands. Moreover, it contributes to the regulation of your hormone system that improves condition caused by hormonal imbalances in the body.

#3: Plough Pose

Next in the sequence for Sivananda Yoga is the Plough Pose, which affect your nerves and the spinal column. Hence, benefits for performing this pose includes an improved ability to stay calm even in the most unnerving situations. This pose also provides a good stretch to your core muscle system.

Yoga Poses for Energy : Yoga Bridge Pose for Energy


#4: Bridge Pose

Performing the Bridge Pose creates a bending action on your thoracic and lumbar regions in the spine. Hence, regular performance of this pose can improve liver and spleen function as both internal organs are stimulated in the process. It also improves the body's natural ability to digest fat and prevent internal toxins from devastating your system.

#5: Fish Pose

The Fish Pose in the Sivananda Yoga sequence is ideal for anyone suffering from asthma or constant shortness of breath. This is due to the opening action on your chest to improve lung function. When you open up your throat, it also provides a stretching action onto the cervical and lumbar regions of your spine.

#6: Seated Forward Bend

On a regular basis, most people tend to slouch forward that could definitely lead to bad posture. This can put you at risk of suffering from spinal compression and shorten your hamstring muscles. The execution of the Seated Forward Bend pose will therefore add a lot of elasticity into your spine. In addition, it massages your internal organ system for improved digestive function and other key functions.

Yoga Chest & Hip Opening Poses : Yoga Cobra Pose

#7: Cobra Pose

The Cobra Pose will serve to kick off a series of back bending exercises that are incorporated in the Sivananda Yoga sequence. This particular pose promote flexibility in your back spine to counter the forward bending posture that most people assume. Aside from correcting your body posture, it also results to various physiological enhancements such as proper assimilation of blood supply all throughout the body.

#8: Bow Pose

Next to Cobra pose is another back bending exercise, Bow Pose. With full expression, it can promote flexibility in your neck, back, and down towards your tailbone. If you want to improve existing respiratory conditions, the Bow Pose's ability to open up your chest can prove to be effective in providing cure.

#9: Locust Pose

With a focus on the lower back muscles, the Locust Pose facilitate in spinal erection and maintaining the most appropriate posture for your body. With full expression, this pose can intensely stretch your core and back muscles.

Yoga Spinal Twist

#10: Half Spinal Twist

This particular pose focuses on your spinal vertebra by giving it a lateral stretch. Hence, this is a good pose to adapt for improved posture due to the proper realignment of your spine. On the other hand, it creates a toning effect on your spinal nerve roots and entire nervous system, such that the Half Spinal Twist is known to address a wide range of nervous disorders.

#11: Standing Forward Bend

This position will start from a standing pose and as you perform the forward bend, it creates an effective stretch from your head and down towards the ankles. It functions with the aid of gravity to allow the body to fall back to the ground. And the fact that your head goes lower than your head promotes blood supply into your brain for heightened mental performance.

#12: Triangle Pose

The Triangle Pose is one of the most efficient postures to adapt in the Sivananda Yoga sequence due to its strengthening and toning capability. Plus, there are a lot of variations to the Tree Pose such that you can cater it to your individual needs. The ability to stretch your body also stimulate your Muladhara Chakra effectively, which leads you toward Shavasana or complete relaxation.

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    EleanorL 8 years ago

    Thanks for the great information.