What is Satyananda Yoga?
Satyananda Yoga is a system of yoga which aims to bring together all areas or aspects of the body. As a matter of fact, it is called the Yoga of the Head, Heart and Hands. The head constitutes the intellect, the heart constitutes the compassion, and the hands constitute the action.
Satyananda Yoga was developed by yoga teacher Satyananda Saraswati and is composed of several systems of yoga like Hatha, Raja, Karma, as well as other types. It is a systematic approach that can be practiced by anyone of all ages. In addition, it can be tailored to suit the individual needs of the person.
Satyananda aims to incorporate awareness of all the aspects of being, namely physical, emotional and spiritual, to create true alignment. Aside from awareness, mental stress and disease can be relieved through the development of the self-healing powers of the body. It helps stabilise emotions and calms the mind to bring perspective to the person, giving them freedom, peace and inner strength.
How Does Satyananda Yoga Work?
Satyananda Yoga is a gentle form of yoga that works on raising inner awareness rather than just building physical stamina and increasing flexibility. It underscores the three spiritual paths of yoga: Bhakti, Jnana and Karma which represent emotion, knowledge and service, respectively. The practice begins with the practitioner getting into the basic meditation position on a yoga mat — legs crossed and hands in Chin Mudra. This hand gesture brings together the person's human consciousness with the divine consciousness to increase awareness of one's self and environment.
Besides mudras, Satyananda Yoga also includes purification techniques like Yoga Nidra, Pranayama techniques and a series of Hatha Yoga postures. The postures should be synchronised with the mind and the flow of breath to release any energy blockages in the body and achieve deep relaxation. The following are some basic poses or asanas used in Satyananda Yoga:
- Cobra Pose
- Bow Pose
- Lotus Pose
- Seated Forward Bend Pose
- Locust Pose
- Cat Pose
- Auspicious Pose
- Mountain Pose
- Thunderbolt Pose
What are the Benefits of Satyananda Yoga?
Satyananda Yoga is as much about spiritual growth as it is about improving physical health. Increasing awareness of one's mind and body not only induces relaxation but also releases tension. The following are some benefits that can be gained from Satyananda Yoga:
- Increases awareness
- Relieves stress
- Increases work productivity
- Increases flexibility of the body
- Makes the bones strong and healthy
- Improves confidence, concentration and expression
- Makes the body vitalised and healthy
- May heal certain types of ailments
- Relaxes the body
- Makes a person more energetic
- Improves blood circulation
What Can You Expect From Satyananda Yoga?
Satyananda Yoga uses postures or asanas to help balance the mind and body, as well as employing breathing or pranayama to work on the energy body and meditation to calm and focus the mind. Also, it teaches and encourages the yogic lifestyle. It is a systematic, step-by-step approach to learning yoga based on common sense and safety. Additionally, Satyananda Yoga is gentle and achievable, and there is no sense of competition.
The class usually runs for an hour and a half, but you can go at a pace that is right for you and your needs. The focus of this yoga is not on perfecting the physical posture, but rather on developing concentration and the ability to witness the mind's activity. It's best to wear comfortable clothing in lightweight fabric for ease of movement. If you must eat before class, be sure to do it at least three hours before.
Your yoga teacher will take your health history before beginning the class so that they can tailor it to your needs. Some of the postures are a contraindication for people with certain conditions like herniated disc and high blood pressure. That explains why the teacher has to know their student's state of health and make adjustments to the class where necessary. You can practise Satyananda every day or three times a week, whichever suits you best.
Is Satyananda Yoga Safe?
Anyone can practise Satyananda Yoga, regardless of their age, state of health or fitness level, as the postures are simple yet work wonders on the mental and physical aspects of health. It is ideal for beginners as it focuses on the basics of yoga, which include breathing and relaxation techniques.