The Four Paths of Yoga
The whole science of yoga can be divided in 4 main branches.
The Yoga of action and selfless service. By purifying our actions in day-to-day life, we gradually subdue the sense of agency, or the ego.
The Yoga of self-discipline, purification and meditation. Also known as the Yoga of eight limbs, or Ashtanga. Hatha Yoga practices, such as asana and pranayama, are tools to prepare the mind for deep meditation.
The yoga of devotion and unconditional love. Through the performance of rituals, singing kirtan, hearing divine stories, etc, we learn to see the divine in everything and everything in the divine.
The Yoga of wisdom. It’s based on the philosophy of the Upanishads, Vedanta. By first purifying and refining the intellect, the jñani analyses reality in search for the unchanging and eternal principle, called Brahman.
The yoga of synthesis
The main points of Swami Sivananda’s teachings can be summarized in a few simple words which have become his creed, and the symbol of his mission and message to humanity: ‘Serve, Love, Give; Purify, Meditate, Realize. Be good, do good, be kind, be compassionate. Enquire, ‘Who am I?’ and know the Self.’ These points are the foundation of a complete system for man’s spiritual evolution which integrates all the yogas for modern people to apply in daily life.
Many other yogis advocate only one form of yoga, such as raja, jñana, bhakti or karma yoga. But Swami Sivananda daringly integrated all the yogas and created the yoga of synthesis or synthetic yoga, so that the personality could be developed as a whole without any side being either over or under developed. Definitely all the yogas lead ultimately to the one goal, but by combining them in the right way, the aspirant is able to utilize each minute of the day as active spiritual sadhana.
Yoga & Ayurveda
Our teaching is also greatly influenced by Ayurveda, the ancient and traditional health system of India. Ayurveda literally means the science of life. It not only helps in curing ailments, but also awakens our self-healing capacity. Ayurveda advocates certain daily practises aimed at creating a balanced state in the 3 doshas or the three imbalances (pitta, kapha and vata). By doing so, we can prevent and overcome diseases, and then, experience well-being, which are requisites for the practice of yoga.
The practices of hatha yoga, such as asana and pranayama, are great ways to bring balance in the three doshas. Another way, perhaps for what Ayurveda is most known, is diet. In all of our retreats, we will give you basic dietary guidelines so that you can be more aware, even when you go back home