For my 28th birthday, my parents gave me my first yoga book. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it was a Sivananda yoga book. One of the characteristics of this lineage, is that it gives you time to relax between all the poses. It therefore had a two pages wide drawing of a practitioner lying on her back, eyes closed. And I remember my father going through the book, with all the seemingly impossible poses, stopping there saying:
“Even I could do that.”
Sivananda yoga is one of the three schools that works with a fixed series of exercises (the other two being Ashtanga and Bikram). Founded in 1936 by Swami Sivananda, it is the oldest of the three. The characteristics of Sivananda hatha yoga are:
– original series starts with breath work, leg raises, warm up, and sun salutations.
– you use full belly breath, something it shares in common with most schools of hatha yoga
– basis is 12 poses – starting with headstand and inversions and ending with the standing poses. This is exactly opposite to all other schools of yoga.
– you can relax between all the poses
– 12 basic poses & a lot of variations and new poses, making it far more diverse than Ashtanga or Bikram.
The schedules include one day of Sun Salutations, and one day with the 12 basic poses.
You can relax at any time in between the poses, and practice as short or long as you wish.