Heartfulness proposes meditation on the heart with an aim of attaining subtler levels of consciousness. The heart is not merely a pump for blood circulation – its role goes far beyond that. References in ancient Indian literature on Yoga, especially that from Sages like Patanjali,…
Born in 1927 in south India Swami Vishnudevananda was sent as a young man to the West in 1957 by his guru H.H. Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati Maharaj to spread the teachings of yoga, with the words ‘People are waiting…’ He founded, in Swami Sivananda’s name, the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres in 1959 in Canada and from there worked tirelessly as a spiritual teacher and peace missionary, setting up yoga centres and ashrams throughout the world.
The first ashram in India was set up in Kerala in 1978. He was the first to introduce the concept of a yoga vacation and the first to establish yoga teachers’ training courses in the West. Swami Vishnudevananda worked tirelessly to instill a strong, practical understanding of yoga and vedanta in the people who came to him. Through his dedication, his infinite love and kindness, his devotion to his Guru and his sheer undaunted fearlessness, he planted the seeds for yoga to grow into the world-wide phenomenon that it is today. His motto ‘Health is Wealth. Peace of Mind is Happiness. Yoga Shows the Way’ continues to inspire all who come to learn about yoga at the Sivananda Ashrams and Centres around the world.
As a peace activist during the 1970s he flew over war-torn countries of the world in his brightly-coloured two-seater plane dropping flowers and leaflets for peace. Recognised as a pioneering world authority on hatha and raja yoga, he is author of the bestselling The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga and Meditation and Mantras. His motto ‘Health is wealth. Peace of mind is happiness. Yoga shows the way’ underpins all the teachings of the organisation.
Swami Sivananda (1887 – 1963)
A revered saint of modern times H.H. Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati Maharaj, a kaivalya advaita vedantin in the line of Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya, is the inspiration behind the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. Born in south India he served for many years as a medical doctor before renouncing worldly life and establishing an ashram in Rishikesh in 1932. His mission was to serve humanity through yoga and in 1936 founded the Divine Life Society. He developed the Yoga of Synthesis, an amalgamation of the four paths of yoga that he summarised as: ‘Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realise.’ He is the author of more than 300 books on all aspects of yoga providing spiritual guidance to millions around the world. Though he never left his native India his teachings quickly spread internationally, leaving a legacy of love, peace and knowledge still unfolding today.