Yoga Philosophy & Teachings

The Power of Sacred Sounds: How to Use Mantra to Cultivate Balance

The long use of Sanskrit mantras continues into the modern day; this ancient practice can bring incredible benefit to your own life and is easy to incorporate into the busiest of schedules. Read more to discover how to uplift yourself with mantra and how to use and incorporate mantra practices (such as kirtan, meditation with a japa mala, etc.) in your daily life so that you too can experience profound benefits for energy, concentration, and mental health. 
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Don’t Stress the ZZZs: Yoga and Sleep

Hatha yoga involves gentle body postures and breathing techniques. Putting one’s body in these gentle postures helps to release tension and pain that could be holding you back from good sleep; breathing techniques center and calm the mind, helping to reduce the chatter that keeps you awake in bed.
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How to Prepare for the May 15th Total Lunar Eclipse: Dos and Don’ts Guide to Prayer, Puja, and Gratitude

When the gods and the demons churned the milky ocean in days of yore, nectar came out of it. Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Mohini, a charming lady, deluded the demons and distributed the nectar only among the gods. But Rahu had disguised himself as a …
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Glory to Devi: Exploring the Divine Feminine Through the 3 Aspects of the Divine Mother

“Devi is the Mother of all. The pious and the wicked, the rich and the poor, the saint and the sinner—all are Her children. Devi or Sakti is the Mother of Nature. She is Nature itself. The whole world is Her body. Mountains are her bones. Rivers are He …
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Quotes to Live By: Your Guide to Yogic Wisdom In Bite-Size Form for Further Reflection, Peace of Mind, and Inner Clarity

There are many reasons why Master Sivananda is considered a veritable sage by those in India and abroad. Beyond his exemplary behavior, cheery attitude, and the uplifting impression he left on everyone that met him, there is the sheer volume of writing …
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The Backbone of Yogic Ethics: The Moral Codes of Right Living, the Yamas and the Niyamas

The 5 Yamas (social ethics) and the 5 Niyamas (personal observances) are thought of as the 10 commandments of the yogic way of life.  The Yamas and the Niyamas build character and ensure a sturdy foundation, without which the house of yogic practice (postures, breathwork) and benefits (peace of mind, joy, good health) would fall.
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Manifestation 101: Define Your Intention and Bring Abundance Into Your Life

Manifestation has been the buzzword in the spiritual community for the last decade. Described at length in the Law of Attraction and by Deepak Chopra, Oprah, and various other prominent figures, manifestation tells us that we can will the lives we truly want into existence. But how? By setting the right intention. Intention is the starting point of every dream you wish to come to fruition, every reality you are capable of manifesting.
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Power of Sound: Heal Yourself with Kirtan

Chanting mantra, whether done through kirtan (joyous chanting), japamala (repetition of mantra using prayer beads), or silent meditation is a practice. A practice has its ups and downs. Maintaining your own mantra practice requires discipline, determination, and concentration. When discipline, determination, and concentration wane, it helps to have a community that will uplift you.
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Healing Ourselves: An Interview with Dr. Shamini Jain

A healer is essentially anyone who facilitates healing in another person. And honestly, it doesn’t necessarily just mean energy or spiritual healing. It is someone that believes in what they’re offering, that puts the patient first, that has a positive attitude. The healer isn’t actually doing any healing, it’s the person who is sick that is doing the healing, all the healer does is open up the pathways in the person’s body to facilitate that healing.
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Art Of Self-Love with Dr. Shamini Jain

The workshop began with a dance of surrender to Durga. Shamini cleverly avoided inducing the anxiety of performance in our minds by bringing our awareness slowly into the interior: first, she asked us to move. The silence felt deafening, the eyes begged to remain open and the body felt awkward… finally, the music came.
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Climbing the Spiritual Ladder: Teachings of Adi Shankaracharya

Donna article TK
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Swadhyaya: Studying the Sacred, Studying Yourself

“Swadhyaya inspires and elevates the mind to high spiritual altitude.” -Swami Sivananda on Swadhyaya Swadhyaya, also known as “self-study” or daily study of the scriptures, is one of the five niyamas. An important tool the yogi uses to overcome the “mo …
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Personal Stories: Connecting with the Sivananda Yoga Postures

We created a series of blog posts that follow the sequence of the Sivananda Yoga practice. All are true stories from brave souls who were willing to share their inner workings and private relationship with a certain posture or practice. Read the storie …
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Yogic Holidays and Their Meanings

Have you ever wondered about the history and culture behind yoga? Beyond asana classes, yoga has a rich cultural history, including many holidays that signify many important elements of yoga and its Vedic roots. At the ashram, in addition to honoring i …
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Facing Fear and Generating New Habits

Question: I have a tendency to run away from hard situations. How do I properly face my fears? Answer: First of all, sometimes it is good to run away from situations; it is not correct to say that it is always healthy to face situations. Sometimes it i …
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Feeling Disconnected? Yoga Psychology Can Help.

Yoga is alive today and thriving all over the world, says Dr. Uma Krishnamurthy, a child psychiatrist who is now a practitioner and teacher of yoga psychology as well as an annual presenter at the ashram. “The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit ‘yuge’ …
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Learning to Teach Yoga: Three TTC Students Share Their Experiences

Among the 32 graduates who spent a month in the ashram’s intensive Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course (TTC) are three students who shared their experience of a demanding and rewarding month on Paradise Island: Rocky Vega, Stuart Bishop, and Robin H …
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Illusion, Reality, and the Validity of Western Science

  Question: If experienced reality is just an illusion, is western science then futile, or pointless?   Answer: An illusion can be a useful illusion. We need to understand this. An illusion is not an unreal thing. An illusion is simply an app …
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Courage to Walk into the Unknown

  Question: How does one summon courage to walk into the unknown?   Answer: How do we get courage to walk into the unknown? We get courage to walk into the unknown little by little. Courage is a long process. We need to face many dangerous si …
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What is Vedanta philosophy?

  Question: What is Vedanta philosophy?   Answer: The philosophy which is based on the teachings of the Upanishads is called Vedanta. The Upanishads are the ending portions of the Vedas, and their subject matter is focused on answering the qu …
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How to Practice Positive Thinking

  Question: Replacing a negative thought with a positive thought seems like an emotional denial. How do we properly practice positive thinking? Answer: There are several ways to practice positive thinking. First of all, when negative thoughts come …
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What is True Happiness?

  Question: Can you explain what true happiness is in relation to just being happy with the surroundings and myself, which seems so shallow and superficial? Answer: Our real nature is true happiness. Our ultimate nature is true happiness. Every ot …
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What is Vedanta? Q&A with Swami Medhananda Puri

Swami Medhananda Puri is a distinguished traditional teacher of Vedanta and a regular presenter at the ashram. In this Q&A, he offers responses to a few basic questions about Vedanta (also called Advaita Vedanta). Question: What is the core of Adva …
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Swami Swaroopananda on Obstacles to Yoga Practice

Question: What are the main challenges in leading a yoga lifestyle and how should we cope with them when they arise on our path? Answer: The main challenge is karma. That is the main challenge but it is also the main opportunity. In yogic practices we …
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Introduction to Meditation

We’re all conditioned to look on the outside for happiness, whether it’s relaxing in a hammock or indulging in a slice of chocolate cake. But how long can you lie in a hammock? And think about the cake: one slice is great, maybe two, even three. But fi …
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Transcending Duality

Question: How can we transcend duality? Answer: First of all we have to define what duality is. Duality is our notion that each one of us is an individual conscious being and we are aware of others, or beings or objects that are different from us; this …
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How to Acquire Faith

Question: What is faith, and how does one acquire it? Answer: Faith, first of all, is not blind belief. Faith is a way of knowing, or is a way of knowledge. Faith is a way of knowledge, not through the five senses, not through the intellect, but throug …
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The Karma of Swadharma

Question: What is swadharma? Answer: Swadharma means our self-duty. This is the karmic duty with which we are born. Each one is born in this world because of karma, because of past actions; and due to our karma, we are born with certain things that we …
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Take Time to Relax in Savasana

by Katie Papo (Ambika) Crunches and leg lifts were my go-to boredom fighter while everyone else laid in savasana (corpse pose) at the end of yoga class. I first started practicing yoga for the workout, so the last thing I wanted was to imitate a dead p …
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Chanting Ahimsa

by Nicole Vahlkamp (Nirmala) It is 6 o’clock in the morning and 200 people are sitting cross-legged on a large wooden platform surrounded by palm trees made slightly iridescent by the contrast between the slowly rising sun and the shadows of the dissol …
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What Is Meditation?

“Dhyanam nirvishayam manah”: That state of the mind wherein there are no Vishayas or sensual thoughts is meditation. “Tatra pratyayaikatanata dhyanam”: A continuous flow of perception or thought is Dhyana (meditation). There is continuous current in th …
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The Five Points & Four Paths of Yoga

Based on the teachings of Swami Sivananda, Swami Vishnudevananda summarized yoga philosophy into 5 main principles, known in our tradition as the Five Points of Yoga which make the complex teachings of yoga easier to understand: Five Points of Yoga Pro …
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