Sivananda Yoga Singapore (affliated centre) - now closed
Swami Sivananda Saraswati (1887 - 1963)
"Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise." - Swami Sivananda
Swami Sivananda was born in 1887 in Pattamadai, Tamil Nadu, South India. His natural selfless spirit led him to a career in the medical field. In the early 1900s, he travelled to Malaya (now known as Malaysia) to work as a doctor, and eventually had the responsibility of running a hospital.
As a doctor, Swami Sivananda was saddened by the physical and mental distress he saw in his patients. He longed to help people on a more profound level. Through the study of yoga and Vedanta, it became his innermost desire to help people not only heal in their physical bodies but also in their minds.
Upon returning to India, Swami Sivananda went further in his search of spiritual growth and enlightenment in the Himalayas. He took on a monk's vow of renunciation and began to practice yoga and meditation intensely for seven years. During this time, Swami Sivananda continued to serve the sick in a small clinic which he established. Slowly, disciples started to gather around him. Wherever he went, he conducted sankirtan (chanting), delivered lectures and taught people how to keep healthy by practising Yoga asana, pranayama and kriya. Above all, he exhorted his audiences to strive constantly for spiritual development.
As the number of disciples around him increased, an ashram eventually grew around him. In 1932 he started the Sivananda Ashram and in 1936 The Divine Life Society in Rishikesh was born. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and the training of people in Yoga and Vedanta was Swami Sivananda's lifelong aim and service.
Swami Sivananda's teaching crystallised the basic tenets of all religions, combining all yoga paths into one - the Yoga of Synthesis. To Swami Sivananda, all work was sacred, no task was too menial. He searched tirelessly for opportunities to serve and to help others, never postponing what needed to be done.
Through his life, Swami Sivananda was the author of over two hundred books, which spread his message of love and service. He had disciples around the world, belonging to all nationalities, race and religions. Swami Sivananda left his body on July 14, 1963.
For more information on Swami Sivananda, click here.
For more information on The Divine Life Society, click here.
Swami Vishnudevananda (1927 - 1993)
Swami Vishnudevananda was a close disciple of Swami Sivananda and was the Professor for Hatha Yoga at The Divine Life Society.
In 1957, Swami Sivananda gave Swami Vishnudevananda ten rupees and asked him to go to the West to spread the teachings of yoga. Swami Sivananda's famous words to him were, "People are waiting."
With ten rupees in his pocket and not having stepped out of India before, Swami Vishnudevananda began his lifetime work of spreading the word of yoga, fulfilling the instruction of his master. The first International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre was set up in Montreal, Canada in 1959. Since then, there are now 70 Sivananda Centres (ashrams, affliated centres) worldwide.
Swami Vishnudevananda made the teachings of yoga accessible to all by crystallising them into five points:
- Proper Exercise (Asanas)
- Proper Breathing (Pranayama)
- Proper Relaxation (Savasana)
- Proper Diet (vegetarian)
- Positive Thinking (Vedanta) and Meditation (Dhyana).
Swami Vishnudevananda was convinced that outer peace cannot exist without inner peace. He became the first yoga master in the West to develop a comprehensive training programme for yoga teachers, who would then inspire countless numbers of people in turn.