Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to your most frequently asked questions…


We’ve assembled the questions we hear most often in one place to make it easier for you to get them answered. We will continue to update this section.

Looking for Guest Information? Everything related to accommodations, rates, getting here, amenities, and what to bring is there.

Please see Planning & Pre-Arrival Information to find all the practical details about a stay at the ashram in one place, including What to Bring, Internet Access, etc.

Common Questions


What is Sivananda Yoga?
We teach a traditional, exact, and easy-to-learn system that aims to create a healthy body and mind that leads to spiritual evolution. Within Sivananda Yoga, yoga postures (asanas) and breathing practices (pranayama) are an important part of the daily practice. Sivananda Yoga is based on the teachings of Swami Sivananda and provides an integrated approach to self-transformation and, ultimately, God-Realization. It begins with basic practices, summarized by Swami Vishnudevananda as the Five Points of Yoga, that create a foundation for a yogic lifestyle and prepare the body and mind for advancing on the spiritual path. In addition to asanas and pranayama, daily practice includes a yogic diet, relaxation, and meditation and positive thinking. Learn more about Sivananda Yoga


What is an ashram?
An ashram is a spiritual learning center, where students and practitioners go to study, practice, and live in a devotional community, traditionally under the guidance of a particular teacher. We are a traditional yoga ashram in that we are founded on the teachings of our guru, Swami Vishnudevananda, and follow a daily schedule designed to support spiritual practice and devotion, as well as a yogic lifestyle. For almost 50 years, we have served as a destination for people seeking a spiritual environment to study and practice yoga and develop a healthy lifestyle.

We are an ashram that is open to all. We welcome people of all faiths and religions and encourage conversation and practice among everyone. In service to Swami Vishnu’s vision of unity in diversity and a more peaceful world, we invite an array of guest speakers and teachers, finding common ground and expanding horizons.


Who is Swami Sivananda?
Swami Sivananda lived from 1887-1963 and was one of the most renowned Indian saints of the 20th-century. As a great teacher of yoga and spirituality, he and his many disciples spread the teachings of yoga around the world, disseminating a wealth of great teachings beyond the ashrams of India, into the hearts and minds of individuals around the world. He wrote over 200 books in his lifetime and founded the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy and the Divine Life Society. He was called a “Master of Masters” because of the accomplishments of his lineage of disciples, who tirelessly served humanity by sharing the teachings of yoga with the world through their writings and the many organizations they founded. Read more about Our Lineage


How do you pronounce “Sivananda”?
It is pronounced, SHEE-vah-nahn-da.


What kind of yoga do you practice?
We practice classical hatha yoga. A typical Sivananda asana class includes a sequence of 12 basic asanas that are considered to be the most important asanas to practice daily. Our classes are taught in the traditional style of entering and exiting a pose slowly and mindfully with concentration and focus on breathing. All classes start with pranayama breathing exercises, and continue with a warm-up of sun salutations and brief relaxations between asanas. We offer beginning and intermediate classes daily to suit a variety levels, and more advanced courses as the student moves into a greater depth of practice. Read more about Yoga Classes at the Ashram


What is a swami?
A swami is spiritual teacher who has taken vows of renunciation according to the yogic tradition. At the ashram, they are yogis, teachers, and practitioners who serve as the long-term staff of the organization and carry on the teachings of the lineage.


Why do the staff wear yellow and white?
The white represents purity, and the yellow is the color of a student of yoga. It represents the spark of knowledge that eventually grows into a fire as the student continues his or her practice.


What is satsang?
In Sanskrit, satsang means “the company of the highest truth.”  It refers to the company of a guru or company with an assembly of people who listen to, talk about, and assimilate spiritual knowledge. This typically involves listening to or reading scriptures, reflecting on, yogic teachings, or discussing how to integrate these into one’s life. Our daily satsangs are about 2 hours and are held first thing in the morning and in the evening after dinner. Our satsang is 30 minutes of silent meditation, about 20 minutes of chanting, and an hour talk, presentation, or performance by one of our teachers or many guest speakers.


How can I come to Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas?
There are four ways to visit us:

I see there is an option to bring your own tent. What do I need to know about camping at the ashram? Bringing your own tent is one of the many diverse accommodation options we offer at the ashram. It is a popular choice for many of our students enrolled in the Yoga Teachers Training Course, and many of our guests also enjoy sleeping in the open air. If you’re not sure if tenting at the ashram is for you, read some of our tenting tips to see if you want tenting to be part of your ashram experience.


What’s the weather like at the ashram?
The Bahamas is a year-round destination, with 300 days of sunshine a year. Average temperatures in the summer run 80 to 90 degrees (27 to 32 Celsius) and 70 to 90 (21 to 27 Celsius) in the winter.

Current weather from The Weather Channel.

Bahamas Weather and When to Go from TripAdvisor.

Weather in the Bahamas from Climate and Weather.


Do I need to bring my yoga mat?
Yes. Due to COVID, we are not supplying yoga mats for the safety of our guests. You will need to bring a yoga mat for the daily asana classes or purchase one from the ashram boutique.


What should I wear?

As the ashram is a spiritual community and study center, we ask that clothing be respectable and modest. Guests are invited to dress in casual, comfortable clothes suitable for warm days and cool evenings. Around the ashram, summer attire is completely appropriate, including shorts, skirts, and summer tops (although halter tops, low necklines, and short shorts and mini-skirts are not). Of course, bathing suits are worn on the beach; we simply ask that you wear a cover-up on the way to the beach. In satsang and the temples, knees and shoulders should be covered; we recommend bringing a meditation shawl.

Please see Planning & Pre-Arrival Information to find all the practical details about a stay at the ashram in one place, including What to Bring, Internet Access, etc.


I have my own yoga practice, where can I do that?
There are a few places around the ashram available for students to do their personal practice. Our platforms, when not in use for classes, are the best option, but the beach or some of the accommodations choices also offer space to practice. We also invite you to participate in the twice-daily Sivananda Yoga Classes offered at the ashram.


Where/How can I go snorkeling?
Guests are free to bring their own equipment and snorkel in the ocean in front of the ashram.


Is there Internet service at the ashram?
Yes. We offer free WiFi throughout the ashram. Please note that WiFi is not available during morning and evening satsangs (6:00-8:00 am and 8:00-10:00 pm), which everyone is invited to attend.


Will my cell-phone work there?
If your cellular plan includes international calling, your phone should work, but please inquire with your phone company before using to avoid incurring international roaming charges. The ashram offers free WiFi, which can be used for free phone calls via WhatsApp and other free call apps.


How do I book a massage?
Our Well Being center offers a variety of different styles of massage and bodywork from December 15 – June 1. You may make appointments while at the ashram at the reception desk, however, we recommend booking appointments prior to arrival to ensure availability. Visit the Well Being Center page.


What are the meals like?
We serve two wholesome, delicious vegetarian meals a day according to traditional principles of yogic diet. Every meal is lovingly prepared with fresh ingredients and mild but tasty spices. Though our menu changes daily, we usually serve a salad bar, a soup, a grain, a protein, and at least one vegetable dish, as well as oatmeal, yogurt, fresh-baked bread and fruit at brunch. There will always be options for vegan and gluten-free diets.


What if I get hungry?
The Health Hut, open from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm and 6:45 – 7:30 pm daily, carries a variety of snacks, including smoothies, fresh-baked cookies, fruit, nuts, dried fruit, paninis, juices, and drinks.

Yoga Vacation Program


What is a yoga vacation?
Our Yoga Vacation Program offers a real getaway that will leave you deeply relaxed, nourished, and inspired. Guests come for the dates that suit them and immerse in yogic lifestyle designed around a daily schedule that includes delicious meals, 2-hour yoga classes, community gatherings (satsangs), inspiring talks and workshops — and, of course, time to enjoy the beautiful Paradise Island beach. Read more about the Yoga Vacation Program.


Is there a fee for Yoga Vacations? No. Yoga Vacations are included in our all-inclusive accommodation rates, which include meals, yoga classes, satsangs, and daily Yoga Vacation workshops, as well as access to our beautiful beach and the ashram grounds and amenities. The cost for your stay depends on your choice of accommodations.


I have my own yoga practice; is there somewhere I can practice?
There are a few places around the ashram available for students to do their personal practice. Our platforms, when not in use for classes, are the best option, but the beach or some of the accommodations choices also offer space to practice. We also invite you to participate in the twice-daily Sivananda Yoga Classes offered at the ashram.


Experiential Courses

When does my course start and when does it end?
Course dates are indicated in the program calendar and with the course description. Courses generally begin the morning of the start date and finish mid-day on the end date. Participants should plan to arrive at least the day before the start date and depart the day after the end date; you can also add Yoga Vacation days before or after a course.


Does the course fee include food and accommodations?
The course tuition includes all of the course sessions. Accommodations are additional and include your room, meals, yoga classes, and access to the ashram amenities.

Who are the teachers?
The teachers for each course are listed with the course description. In addition to our own highly skilled teachers, we welcome leading teachers from a variety of fields. See all Program Presenters and Teachers.


What is the daily schedule at the ashram when I am taking a course?
The ashram’s daily schedule provides a framework for immersion in a yogic lifestyle. Each course has its own schedule and may preclude participation in all of the ashram’s offerings.


Will I have time to go to the beach?
Of course! Everyone finds time to swim, relax, walk, and otherwise enjoy the spectacular Paradise Island beach we are located on.


What kinds of courses do you offer?
We offer courses in many yoga and yoga-related topics, including Ayurveda, healing-arts trainings, juice cleansing, meditation, beginning yoga, trainings for yoga teachers, and more. Please browse our Program Themes for inspiration.

If this is your first visit to the ashram or you are new to yoga, we highly recommend our Sivananda Core Courses, which offer the perfect blend of instruction and free time.

Teacher Training Course


What kind of yoga do you teach?
We teach a traditional, exact, and easy-to-learn system that aims to create a healthy body and mind that leads to spiritual evolution. Part of an established classical yoga lineage, Sivananda Yoga offers a highly accessible and relevant foundation for yoga practice and a yogic lifestyle. Within Sivananda Yoga, yoga postures (asanas) and breathing practices (pranayama) are an important part of the daily practice. (Learn more about Sivananda Yoga.) A typical yoga class includes four components in this order:

  • Pranayama (breathing exercises)
  • Warm-ups, including Sun Salutations
  • 12 basic asanas (postures), with the practice of relaxation between asanas
  • Deep relaxation

The Teacher Training Course prepares you to lead classes as well as firmly establish your own practice and study in the deeply rooted tradition of classical yoga. Find out more about the Teacher Training Course.


I’ve never taken Sivananda Yoga, can I take this course?
Yes. There are no prerequisites for the Teacher Training; yoga is for everyone and everyone can begin where they are.


Is it vinyasa?
Sivananda Yoga is not a vinyasa-style yoga practice, although the Sun Salutation is a foundational warm-up in our classes.


What is the schedule like? Will I have time off?
The Teacher Training Course is intentionally designed with a rigorous immersion schedule in order to transform students into authentic yogis, knowledgable teachers, and leaders for peace in the world. Please see the Daily Schedule (including information about the weekly Rest/Study Days).


What kind of teaching skills will I learn?
By the end of the Teacher Training Course (TTC), you will be able to teach a 2-hour Sivananda Yoga class that includes warm-ups, postures, breathing, and relaxation to beginners and more experienced yoga practitioners as well as unique populations, such as children, the elderly, and pregnant women. View the full TTC curriculum.


Will I be certified at the end?
Yes. Upon successful completion of the course students are certified by the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers and receive a certificate as a Yoga Siromani (Teacher of Yoga). Find out more about Sivananda International.


Are you a Yoga Alliance school?
Yes. This training is registered by and fulfills the requirements for the Yoga Alliance 200-hour certification, for which graduates of the program are invited to register.


What is unique/special about your teacher training?
Obviously, our location on Paradise Island in the Bahamas offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study in a tropical oasis on one of the most exquisite beaches in the world. More importantly, the Teacher Training Course is a well-established immersion training, offering you an unparalleled classical yoga education and connection to an international yoga lineage.


Do you offer more advanced training after the basic course?
We do. Yoga teacher training is an important part of our mission and we provide numerous yoga teacher training opportunities — for those just get started and for yoga teachers seeking to advance their knowledge and practice. Find out about all Yoga Teacher Training opportunities.

Residential Study Program/Karma Yoga


What is Karma Yoga?
The cornerstone of our Residential Study/Karma Yoga Program is selfless service, also called seva or Karma Yoga. Swami Sivananda taught that the act of offering our services for the benefit of others purifies the heart and takes us further along the path in our spiritual evolution. Karma Yoga is a devotional practice; it is service performed without any expectation of result or reward for the person performing it. It is dedicating all your thoughts and actions for the greater good. Not an easy task! Practiced faithfully this form of yoga helps to purify the mind and heart.

At the ashram, Karma Yoga takes the form of work that is performed in service to the community to keep things humming. Find out more about Karma Yoga Programs at the ashram.


What kind of work will I be doing?
There are a wide variety of assignments, which fall under these basic areas:

  • Kitchen help (food preparation and dish washing)
  • Gardening/composting
  • Grounds/Maintenance
  • Garbage removal
  • Reception/reservations
  • Marketing/ promotion
  • Programs
  • Guest services
  • Teaching/coordinating programs
  • Boutique
  • AV/sound equipment


What is the work schedule? Will I have time off?
Your daily schedule will depend on the times you are needed for your work assignment. Karma Yogi’s serve 5 hours daily in the Introduction program and up to 8 hours daily in the Immersion program. They are also expected to participate in the ashram’s Daily Schedule of satsangs and yoga classes (when they do not have another assignment). While there are no days off, everyone finds some time in the day for their own activities — and, of course, the beach.


If I am in the Residential Study/Karma Yoga program, can I take other courses?
When it works with your schedule, you are welcome to participate in the daily Yoga Vacation workshops offered at noon and/or 2:00. Additionally, attendance at the daily satsangs provides a rich experience of talks, presentations, and performances by ashram staff and guest presenters.


Can I request the kind of work I would like to do?
While we do ask what you are interested in and what skills you bring, a part of the practice of Karma Yoga is to stay open to whatever assignment you are given and do your best at what it is. If you have a unique skill set or special request, you can indicate it on your application.


What is required of me when I am not working?
You are always required to respect the rules and values of the ashram and to remember that you represent the ashram when you go off-site. When not working, you are free to spend time at the beach, enjoy the ashram’s gardens and amenities, or take the 5-minute boat ride to Nassau to wander around the historic town.


I’ve never done yoga, is that ok?
Welcome! You will learn through our yoga classes and satsang talks.

Interested? Find out more about Residential Study/Karma Yoga Programs at the ashram.

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