Yoga Types

What Is Sivananda Yoga?

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What is Sivananda yoga? It is considered as a classic form of Hatha yoga and propagates Swami Sivananda’s teachings. The practice of this yoga is based on safeguarding health and well-being of the practitioners. Twelve poses have been designed in order to improvise endurance, flexibility, and strength.

Furthermore, these help in practicing meditation easily. In order to teach this yoga type, the individuals need to graduate completing the Shivananda yoga training course. This course is exclusively offered at Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashramas.

Practicing Sivananda is quite different from Ashtanga yoga, as it primarily focuses on relaxation and breathing techniques. Furthermore, it incorporates the daily life of the students into training sessions. The training is mainly based on five rules – poses, breathing, relaxation, diet and meditation, and positive thinking.

It is slow paced, thus allowing detailed examination of every practiced pose. A typical session starts with offerings to the sun (Surya Namaskar) followed by twelve basic postures. Practicing sun salutations isn’t very difficult but perfection could take some prolonged period. Practicing regularly could bring an array of health benefits to the practitioners.

12 Poses For Sivananda Yoga

Following and practicing all twelve yoga postures in the right way should help achieve the health benefits that the yoga has to offer to the practitioners. However, it is important to continue practicing on a regular to achieve maximum health benefits. It is important to practice the poses the right way and regular practice could gradually bring further perfection. The poses are:

  • Headstand
  • Shoulder stand
  • Plough
  • Fish
  • Sitting Forward Bend
  • Cobra
  • Locust
  • Bow
  • Half Spinal Twist
  • Crow
  • Standing forward fold
  • Triangle

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Breathing technique

Breathing technique forms an integral aspect of yoga practicing. In order to attain maximum benefits from the yoga session, it is important to accomplish complete yoga breathing and make usage of lungs to the extent of its full capacity. Sivananda yoga type uses a combination of breathing techniques in order to attain complete yogic breathing.

The combination of breathing includes – Clavicular breathing, Thoracic breathing, and deep abdominal breathing. The Clavicular breathing type involves most efforts in order to obtain minimal amounts of air, as it is shallow most breathing type. Thoracic breathing uses an expansion of muscles in the rib cage while deep abdominal breathing supplies air to the largest and lowermost lung parts. This breathing technique makes most usage of the diaphragm and is slow and deep.


Relaxation could be achieved following all relaxation forms. Moreover, relaxation remains incomplete unless the practitioner conquers spiritual relaxation.

Diet For Sivananda Yoga

The yoga practitioner needs to follow a diet and a yogic diet is a vegetarian diet. It’s great to go vegan as it includes natural, pure and simple foodstuffs that are easily absorbed and promote good health. Moreover, most are found to go the organic way as the organic foods offer additional nutritional value.

Meditation & Positive Thinking:

Sivananda yoga promotes positive thinking and promotes practitioners to achieve a meditation level wherein they can concentrate completely on self. Usually, the practitioners are lead through a routine that is 14 point meditation.

Practicing Sivananda yoga, the practitioners are to gain mental, physical and spiritual wellness. Regular practice will gradually help the practitioners achieve perfection for all five fundaments of Sivananda yoga.

A typical class would start off with the basic relaxation postures, corpse poses followed by breath works like Anuloma Viloma and Kapalbhati. On completion of these breathing exercises, the students are guided to practice twelve poses of sun salutations series, Suryanamaskar.

Again, a relaxation pose could be practiced between all sun salutation poses. The instructor may plan to make minor modifications to the present sequencing of Sivananda yoga.

Additionally, the instructor could also choose to modify to match the difficulty levels too. A Sivananda yoga session would conclude with a relaxation pose too and a typical class should last for about 90 minutes.