How can Satyananda yoga nourish your soul?
Developed by Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati in the 1960s, the yoga style that now bears his name began as the Bihar school of yoga. It is a gentle and holistic combination of practices intended to benefit the body, mind and spirit. Satyananda is often referred to as a yoga of ‘head, heart and hands’, symbolising the way it draws on the many branches of yogic tradition to support the different aspects of the human experience.
Unlike varieties of yoga that focus mainly on specific poses (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayamas), Satyananda yoga is known for also emphasising cleansing practices, meditation and guided deep relaxation. As a discipline that is known for including yoga Nidra, Satyananda specifically encourages profound rest as an important aspect of overall health.
One characteristic of Satyananda yoga is the school’s encouragement of gradual and steady progress. The initial sequences of asanas easy for beginners to master, and accompanied by an introduction to pranayamas and various meditation techniques. Over time, as you become more proficient in Satyananda, Kriya yoga and other advanced practices are taught when the instructors believe you are ready to learn them.
Benefits of Satyananda yoga
Evidence suggests that the deep relaxation achieved through guided Nidra exercises may lead to a significant decrease in perceived levels of stress and anxiety. Satyananda yoga has been studied as a way of alleviating anxiety and depression in stroke survivors with a disability, and preliminary findings indicate that it may be a safe and effective treatment.
It has been reported that Satyananda yoga may be a viable way to manage fluid retention related to breast cancer treatment, but further research is recommended. There is evidence to suggest that Satyananda yoga meditation may enhance brain function, particularly in key areas of the right hemisphere. It has also been reported that yoga Nidra may reduce the impact of psychological symptoms in women with menstrual disorders.
Satyananda yoga may assist in relieving symptoms related to:
- Back pain
- Balance, stability and coordination
- Brain fog and clarity
- Breast cancer
- Circulation and cardiovascular conditions
- Concentration, focus and problem solving
- Energy and vitality
- Flexibility, endurance and strength
- Immunity issues
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
- Mobility and movement
- Muscle spasm, tightness and cramps
- Nervous system and neurological conditions
- Posture and spine issues
- Respiratory and breathing issues
- Stress and tension
- Weight control and obesity
What to expect from a Satyananda yoga session
A Satyananda yoga session usually lasts for about 90 minutes, and starts with a relaxation or grounding exercise to bring your attention to the present moment, followed by a series of relatively mild asanas. In keeping with Satyananda’s emphasis on developing physically as well as spiritually in a systematic, progressive way, you will be introduced to more vigorous sequences once you are ready for them.
Your teacher will then guide you through pranayamas, and as you become more proficient, increasingly advanced practices that encourage your application of yoga principles to various aspects of your daily life. The class will also include a meditation session, typically concluding with guided deep relaxation.
As with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing Satyananda yoga. If you have an injury or other health issue, or any concerns at all, also speak to your Satyananda yoga instructor.
Satyananda yoga teacher training is uniquely challenging and rigorous, with instructors required to undergo 1500 hours of education in order to receive their diploma. This means your teacher will be well-equipped to adjust the session as needed to suit your individual requirements.