The contents on these Our Teachings webpages are reproduced from the book “Essentials of Yoga Practice and Philosophy”  compiled by Swami Sitaramananda.

Below is a testimonial for this book.

A concise guide to Yoga in all of its aspects, healing, mantra, pranayama, asana and meditation as taught by one of the most important Yoga lineages of the modern world, Essentials of Yoga Practice and Philosophy is a helpful resource that all serious Yoga students should keep close by for regular study.

David Frawley

Author of more than 30 books on Yoga

Our Teachings

Our teachings section is based on the essential teachings of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda.  In this teachings section of our website you will find teachings on many different topics listed in the menu on the left and again in the content blocks on the bottom of the page.  The contents you will find here are reproduced from the book “Essentials of Yoga Practice and Philosophy”  compiled by Swami Sitaramananda.  The contents should in no way be reproduced without written consent of the Sivananda Yoga Farm.  We hope you enjoy learning with us!


Master Sivananda watches a young Swami Vishnu perform the scorpion posutre.

Swami Sivananda observes Swami Vishnudevananda doing the scorpion pose.

Swami Sivananda

Quote: “Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize.”
 – Swami Sivananda

Swami Sivananda (1887-1963) was born in South India to a pious Brahmin family.  He became a medical doctor and hospital director during his pre-sannyas life in Malaysia.  He found out that curing people of their physical ailments did not really solve the problem of human suffering and he started his quest to find the answer, becoming a wandering sadhu and starting to practice intense tapas (austerities) and meditation in Rishikesh, Himalayas.  He became not only a doctor of the body but also a “doctor of the soul”.  He founded the Sivananda ashram in 1932 and the Divine Life Society in 1936 and published 200-300 books in English outlining practices for a spiritual life.

Swami Sivananda’s teachings can be summarized in six words: “Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize”.  Swamiji attained Mahasamadhi in 1963.  The government of India published a stamp in his honor for his 100 year birthday anniversary, as he is recognized as an authoritative teacher in classical Yoga.  Swami Sivananda, foreseeing that the whole world would need Yoga teachings, wrote his books in English, accepted western disciples, and sent some of his closest disciples to the West to teach Yoga.  One of his foremost disciples is Swami Vishnudevananda, whom he sent to America in 1957 with the words: “Go to America, people are waiting”

Read more about the life of Swami Sivananda >>

Swami Sivananda sitting by the Ganges smiling with a strong gaze

Swami Sivananda is a modern day saint from India who lived from 1887 – 1963.

Swami Vishnudevananda

Swami Vishnudevananda (1927-1993) was born in Kerala, South India, and took sannyas under Swami Sivananda at age 21.  Master Sivananda nominated him as “Hatha Yoga Professor” at an early age, recognizing his extraordinary talents in this field.

Swami Vishnudevananda stayed with his Master in Rishikesh for 10 years before he was sent to America in 1957 to spread the teachings of Yoga and Vedanta to the masses.  He was a pioneer in teaching the Yogic Lifestyle of the five points, and introduced the West to the concept of Yoga Vacations, Yoga Teachers Training courses, and Yoga Children’s camp.

Swamiji’s approach was classical yet practical, adapted to modern needs and lifestyles.

Swamiji is the author of the best selling “Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga”, translated into more than a dozen languages around the world.  He also authored “Meditation and Mantras” as well as wrote a commentary to Swami Swatmarama’s “Hatha Yoga Pradipika”.

Swamiji founded the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers with a dozen ashrams and 30-40 centers around the world.  In 1969 he also founded the True World Order to train new leaders in inner Peace.  Thus Swamiji and the Sivananda organization have trained 45,000 Yoga teachers around the world and continue to reach out to millions.

Swamiji was also a world renowned Peace missionary, famous for his dangerous peace missions and flights around the world to where actual conflicts were taking place, such as the Suez Canal, Belfast, Pakistan, Berlin Wall etc.

Swamiji tirelessly brought to mankind the message of “Unity in Diversity” and “Health is wealth, peace of mind is happiness, and Yoga shows the way.”  He attained Mahasamadhi in 1993 in India.

Read more about the life of Swami Vishnudevananda >>


Swami Vishnudevananda with a beaming smile laughing

Swami Vishnudevananda brought the classical Yoga teaching to the West in 1957.  He lived from 1927 – 1993.

The International Sivananda Organization has actively carried on with his teaching mission in many countries, with worldwide Teachers Training Courses and by publishing books such as “The Sivananda Companion to Yoga”, and “Yoga, Mind, & Body”.

This section of our website is a summary of the teachings of these two Masters, the essential teachings of yoga philosophy and practice from the Sivananda lineage.

Yoga Teacher Training Course

Check out our 200-hour Yoga Alliance certified Yoga Teacher Training Courses offered twice a year in California, 3x in Vietnam, once in China and once in Japan.

Foundational Courses

Choose from upcoming courses for beginners and intermediate level students.

Yoga Vacation

Rejuvinate your body and mind. Experience and progress with daily Yoga classes. Learn the 12 basic asanas and pranayama. Enjoy daily meditation, chanting, and organic vegetarian meals.

Check out our Blog

Our Sivananda Yoga Farm Blog has numerous articles, videos, and talks given by our senior teachers over the years.


The contents you will find here are reproduced from the book “Essentials of Yoga Practice and Philosophy”  compiled by Swami Sitaramananda.


What is Satsang?  What is Meditation? What is Kirtan Chanting?

5 Points of Yoga

Exercise,  Breathing, Relaxation, Diet, Positive thinking and Meditation


What is True Health?  What is health of body, mind, and spirit?


What is Prana?  How can I access prana? What is kundalini energy?

Raja Yoga

What is Raja Yoga? What are the eight limbs?  What is ashtanga yoga?

Jnana Yoga

Who am I?  What is Vedanta Philosophy?  What is Sat-Chit-Ananda?


What is a mantra?  What is sanskrit?  How do I get a mantra?

Yoga Poses

What is in a basic Sivananda class?  What are the benefits?  What are some guidelines?


What is Yoga?  Where did Yoga come from? What is Classical Yoga?


What is the meaning of Life?  What is Freedom? What is Happiness?


What is the mind?  How does the mind work? Am I my mind?

Positive Thinking

What is thought?  What are techniques to practice positive thinking?

Karma Yoga

What is Karma? What is Karma Yoga?  How to practice karma yoga?

Bhakti Yoga

What is True Love?  Who is God?  What is an inner Bhava?

Kirtan Chanting

What is Kirtan Chanting?  How does it work?  What do the chants mean?


What is ayurveda?  What are the 3 doshas?  What is disease according to ayurveda?