“Swami Satyananda was successful in presenting the whole system and tradition of yoga in a practical, understandable, modern and scientific manner.”
One of the greatest saints of recent times, Sri Swami Satyananda heralded the integration of yoga into society, and encouraged the spiritual evolution of all people, regardless of caste, creed, religion or nationality. He structured the yogic vision of his guru Sri Swami Sivananda – the philosophy, practices, applications and lifestyle – into a practical and scientific system. He elaborated the ancient systems of yoga and tantra and brought them literally to each and every corner of the world.
In 1956 Sri Swami Satyananda founded the International Yoga Fellowship Movement with the aim of creating a global fraternity of yoga. Through the International Yoga Fellowship Movement thousands of yoga centres have been established in countless countries, knowledge of yoga has been disseminated through publications in dozens of languages, research into the benefits of yoga has been conducted across the globe, and yoga has been introduced into the schools of many countries.
In 1963 Sri Swami Satyananda established the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger, which became the focal point of yogic experience for people from all over the world. From here Sri Swami Satyananda, with devotion to the ideals of his guru Sri Swami Sivananda matched by his untiring energy, dedicated himself to disseminating this evolutionary yogic culture to the world.
In the course of his tireless efforts to fulfill the mandate of his guru and spread the light of yoga to every corner of the globe, Sri Swami Satyananda embarked upon an immense campaign of printing and publishing. In 1963, the first activity of Bihar School of Yoga was the publication of the magazine Yoga in English and Yoga Vidya in Hindi, and this was followed by an unending stream of books on all aspects of the yogic sciences.
Through these publications Sri Swami Satyananda gave to the present and future generations of the world a complete set of yoga practices and guidance on yogic sadhana and lifestyle
Browse the complete list on the Yoga Publications Trust web page.
“The science of yoga has great physical and psychological potential. The effect of yoga techniques on human physiology is an inviting field for research for modern physiologists, and scientific investigations into yoga psychology are a challenge for modern psychologists.”
Sri Swami Satyananda
Sri Swami Satyananda saw the immense potential for, and benefits of, scientific research and experimentation into the effects of yogic techniques, and in the late 1970s he initiated and inspired a range of yogic research projects. This research has provided society with further understanding of how yogic practices affect the human body, mind and emotions, and how the practices can awaken the hidden inner potential and enhance the quality of life.
It has also demonstrated how the various practices and techniques can be used therapeutically to prevent, manage and treat a wide range of conditions, including asthma, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and also pregnancy. In 1984 at Munger Sri Swami Satyananda founded the Yoga Research Foundation, an institute dedicated to the scientific investigation of yoga practices.
Bihar Yoga / Satyananda Yoga
Sri Swami Satyananda removed the veil of mysticism that had previously shrouded yoga and presented it as a science of personal and spiritual development to aspirants not only in India, but across every continent of the globe. Yoga was revealed in its pure form as a spiritual science for the evolution of consciousness and reached people from all walks and conditions of life, for their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development.
Under the guidance of Sri Swami Satyananda, the Bihar School of Yoga became the seat of a global yogic renaissance, propagating a blend of yogic practices and principles for cultivating head, heart and hands. This system is called the Bihar Yoga or Satyananda Yoga tradition.
Sri Swami Satyananda took the ‘yoga of synthesis’ system of his guru, Sri Swami Sivananda, and blended practical and applicable aspects of vedanta, yoga and tantra to create the Bihar Yoga/Satyananda Yoga system.
One of the key hallmarks of Bihar Yoga/Satyananda Yoga is the integration of all aspects of yoga. The various branches of yoga are incorporated into a systematic approach to achieve a balanced evolution and wholeness. The foundations of an integral yoga sadhana are formed by the fundamental yogas to develop the faculties of head, heart and hands: hatha yoga, raja yoga, jnana yoga, bhakti yoga and karma yoga. Other branches of yoga also form part of the Bihar Yoga/Satyananda Yoga system, including mantra yoga, nada yoga, kriya yoga, kundalini yoga, laya yoga, and so on.
In developing the system of Bihar Yoga/Satyananda Yoga, Sri Swami Satyananda brought to light the unknown and hidden practices from the ancient yogic and tantric systems. He identified the progressive steps, stages and sequences of the practices and presented the practices in a simple and systematic manner, enabling one and all to delve into this valuable science and reap the benefits. For the first time the practices became accessible to ordinary people in a practical, safe and effective form. Sri Swami Satyananda saw that simple practices are suitable for contemporary people, and that when practised regularly, they give profound and transformative experiences.
Sri Swami Satyananda thoroughly systematized the practices of yoga in an unparalleled manner, and drawing from the ancient scriptures and wisdom he developed numerous techniques that are now practised around the world. To read more about these unique techniques and practices visit the Practices section.
Expansion of Awareness
Awareness lies at the heart of all Bihar Yoga/Satyananda practices and its entire approach. Sri Swami Satyananda emphasized the importance of bringing awareness into all dimensions of every yoga practice – the physical, mental, emotional, energetic, subtle and spiritual. This allows the awareness to gradually expand, so that over time awareness can be brought into all the activities and aspects of life.
Throughout his life Sri Swami Satyananda taught that the expansion and cultivation of awareness should be the aim of life, and that the means is yoga.
Sri Swami Satyananda saw yoga as a process of continuous transformation of the total personality, which can be achieved in stages by regular and systematic practice and by assimilating and making yoga a part of one’s daily life.
As well as being a set of practices and a philosophy, yoga also becomes a lifestyle, ultimately allowing one to merge with the flow of life and evolution and become a creative participant in the yajna of life.
“Swami Satyananda gave yoga a new life, a new birth. He revived yoga – otherwise it would have been lost. Therefore, Swami Satyananda is the Patanjali of today.”
Read more about Sri Swami Satyananda on the Inspirers pages.