What Is Yoga?

Yoga has two broad divisions which overlap and interpenetrate:  Hatha, the ‘outer’, and Tantra, the ‘inner’ sadhana (curriculum).  At the Sivananda School of Yoga we offer all the complimentary ingredients of Yoga as summarized in the Yoga Sutra of the Rishi (sage-seer) Patanjali.

Yoga’s ultimate purpose is Mokshya, that is, liberation from reincarnation via the attainment of the mystical state of enlightenment called God-realisation.  It is not necessary to follow any religion in particular to practice Yoga.  For the Hindu, Hinduism is the religious base of Yoga; for a yogi of a different religion, or a non religious practitioner, Hinduism provides only a traditional background.

Yoga is the supreme spiritual science of the mystic – eternal, comprehensive and self-sufficient. Its origins are lost in pre-history, and we believe that is has always been practised by advanced members of society who have recognised it as our divinely intended, evolution-promoting, way of life.

Hatha, the exercise system of Asana (posture), Pranayama (life-force control via breathing techniques), Bhanda (energy locks/seals), Kriya (cleansing processes) and Mudra (energy-directing gestures) has as its purpose an improved flow of life-energy.  Thereby the brain and mind are calmed, thus facilitating the yogi’s supreme practice – meditation – in which the yogi applies a sacred technique imparted at initiation.