- Sivananda Lineageand Vision
International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre is a not-for-profit organisation named after Swami Sivananda – one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the 20th century. It was established in 1957 by Swami Vishnudevananda – a close disciple of Swami Sivananda – to practise and teach the ancient yogic knowledge for health, peace, unity in diversity and Self-realisation.
A venerated saint of modern times, Swami Sivananda is the inspiration behind the international Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. Born in India, he served for many years as a medical doctor before renouncing worldly life and establishing the Sivananda Ashram in 1932.
His mission was to serve humanity by sharing his profound understanding of yoga, and in 1936, he founded the Divine Life Society to publish and freely distribute spiritual texts.
To make the teachings more accessible, he developed the Yoga of Synthesis, an amalgamation of the formal doctrines of yoga – the four paths of yoga – that he summarized as follows:
« Serve. Love. Give. Purify. Meditate. Realise. »
Over his lifetime, Swami Sivananda authored more than 200 books that have provided spiritual guidance to millions around the world. Though he never left India, his teachings quickly spread worldwide, leaving an international legacy of love, peace, and knowledge still unfolding today.
A world authority on hatha yoga and raja yoga, an inspired Swami Vishnudevananda was sent to the West in 1957 by his guru, Swami Sivananda, to spread the teachings of yoga and the message of world peace. With only 10 rupees in his pocket, Swami Vishnudevananda worked his way to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where he quickly established the first Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in 1959. The centre marked the beginning of what is now a worldwide organisation, and less than four years after it opened its doors, Swami Vishnu started the Sivananda Yoga Camp in the Laurentian Mountains, Quebec, the first Sivananda ashram in the West.
As a result of Swami Vishnu’s limitless energy and ceaseless dedication, there are currently 11 Sivananda ashrams, 30 yoga centres, and over 40,000 TTC graduates worldwide. The founder of one of the largest international yoga organisations, he also authored the bestsellers, ‘The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga’ and ‘Meditation and Mantras’, and his teachings remain the driving force behind all of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres today. Always dedicating his work in honour of his guru, Swami Vishnu’s message of inner peace continues to live on through those he has inspired, bringing the world closer to a state of harmony.
« This world, when ascertained from the standpoint of its essential nature, does not exist as different. Nor does it exist in its own right. Nor do phenomenal things exist as different or non-different. This is what the knowers of Truth understood. »
– Sri Sankaracharya