An ashram is a spiritual learning centre where students and practitioners go to study, practise and live in a devotional community under the guidance of a spiritual teacher.
Founded by Swami Vishnudevananda the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre organisation (SYVC) is open to people of all ages, faiths and culture. In the words of our teacher Swami Vishnudevananda we promote and encourage unity in diversity. Aspirants at the ashram follow a yogic lifestyle that leads to development of all aspects of their being physical, mental and spiritual.
Swami Sivananda (1887-1963) is considered to be a modern-day saint of India, renowned as a formidable teacher of yoga and spirituality. He was author of over two hundred books and founder of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy and the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh, north India. He popularised yoga as the ‘yoga of synthesis’, effecting harmonious development of the ‘hand’, ‘head’ and ‘heart’ through the practice of Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. He sent many disciples into the world to spread the teachings of yoga, amongst them Swami Vishnudevananda.
Born in South India in 1927, Swami Vishnudevananda entered the ashram of Swami Sivananda at the age of 18. A world famous authority on Hatha and Raja Yoga, Swami Vishnudevananda founded the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres in 1957 and was author of The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, Meditation and Mantras, Karma and Disease and a commentary on the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Swami Vishnudevananda entered Mahasamadhi on November 9th 1993.
The Sanskrit root of the word “swami” means “one who is one with his Self” (swa=Self). A swami is one who has been initiated into the holy order of sannyas, a monastic order; i.e. he or she has taken vows of renunciation of worldly existence according to the yogic tradition. The saffron colour of a swami’s robes denotes the fire of renunciation.
Asana is defined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as a posture that is both steady and comfortable. Asana serves as a stable posture for prolonged meditation. Asanas open the energy channels of the body and promote calmness and physical well-being.
We teach and practise classical hatha yoga. A Sivananda class includes an initial relaxation period, opening prayer, pranayama (breathing exercises), surya namaskar (sun salutation), a series of twelve classic asanas with short relaxation between each asana and a final period of deep relaxation. The class concludes with a closing prayer.
In Sanskrit, satsang means ‘the company of the wise’. It refers to the company of a guru or company with an assembly of people who listen to, talk about, and assimilate spiritual knowledge. Satsang at SYVC includes thirty minutes of silent meditation followed by chanting, and a spiritual talk by one of our senior teachers. We open and close each day with satsang.
SYVC is an international organisation with centres and ashrams across the world. We conduct our classes and satsangs in English. However, translators are provided for groups of a certain size during specific courses such as our Teachers’ Training Courses.
We follow the classical style of Patanjali Raja Yoga. Meditation is routinely practised for 30 minutes twice a day in satsang. Meditation instructions are given at these times. You can also attend meditation workshops, courses, and coaching classes that are held at SYVC centres and ashrams.
According to Hindu tradition deities represent different divine qualities. Hinduism is actually monotheistic in that it considers only one absolute reality named Brahman. Each deity is a symbol of an aspect of Brahman.
Yoga mats are issued on a rental basis according to availability. They are also available for purchase from the ashram boutique (650 – 800INR). Guests are encouraged to bring their own mat.
Ashram living gives aspirants an opportunity to turn inward. Mobile phones and other devices are a distraction from this. To maintain an environment conducive for spiritual practice we request guests to switch off or silence their mobile phones. At specific times during the day guests are provided free Wi-Fi services for their personal work.
White represents purity and yellow the colour of learning.
It is recommended to wear comfortable, modest, casual clothing in natural fabrics such as cottons or wools covering the shoulders, midriff and knees.
A brahmachari is preparing for the holy state of sannyas (renunciation). The yellow sig-nifies the quest for true knowledge.
We offer regular headstand workshops and coaching classes. Please check the Daily Schedule.
You will be given an outline of the ‘Dos and Donts’ of ashram life at the time of your visit. These guidelines are intended to maintain the discipline required for the practice of yoga. Guests should adhere to these rules and regulations. Any difficulties should be discussed with the director.
6 AM Morning Satsang: open to public
7.30 AM Tea
8 AM Yoga Class: intermediate or beginners. Ashram inmates only.
Please come with your yoga mat at least 5 minutes before class.
10 AM Brunch
11 AM Karma Yoga: Up to an hour of selfless service to connect you to the ashram community.
12 PM Meditation Coaching: Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays – optional
12.30 PM Asana and Pranayama Coaching: daily except Fridays – optional
1.30 PM Tea and snack
2 PM Main Lecture: philosophy, psychology and practice of yoga.
3.30 PM Yoga Class: intermediate or beginners. Ashram inmates only.
6 PM Dinner
6.30 PM Chanting in the Raja Rajeshwari temple – optional
8 PM Evening Satsang: Open to Public
We welcome beginners. You will learn everything you need to know through our yoga classes for beginners, our lectures and satsang talks. Our many staff are aways on hand to guide you.
Guests are requested to adhere to the ashram schedule. During the free time they may do their personal practice.
Ayurveda has been a feature of the Dhanwantari Ashram, Neyyar Dam since its inception in 1978. The Sivananda Institute of Health (SIH) based in the ashram offers consultations and treatment to the ashram inmates. You can arrange a consultation by email, [email protected] or directly while at the ashram. SIH also offers the training course Ayurveda Wellness Course.
We serve two vegetarian meals a day; at 10 am and 6 pm, morning tea at 7.30 am and herbal tea and snack at 1.30 pm. The cuisine is local style and yogic with no onions, garlic or chilly.
We have a Health Hut at the ashram (open October – April)). Guests may enjoy herbal tea, shakes, snacks, fruits, juices etc. at minimal cost. You can also buy snacks from the ashram boutique.
Our Yoga Vacation programme is available all year-round. You will experience the in-credible benefits that yoga brings to mind, body and spirit, increasing vitality, positivity and ease of being. The programme includes twice-daily yoga asana and pranayama classes; lectures, talks and workshops on yoga philosophy and psychology as well as twice-daily satsang (silent meditation practice, kirtan (Sanskrit chanting) and a dis-course on yoga). Immerse yourself in the calming atmosphere of the Ashram, make friends with spiritually-minded people from all corners of the world, discover your true nature and develop skills to improve your mental, physical and spiritual health.
The fee is according to the accommodation type required
Yoga Vacation (YV) programme starts on the 1st and 16th of every month. It includes a 2 week cycle of talks and yoga classes for beginners. Nevertheless guests can drop in at any time. Please note that YV is not available at Sivananda Kutir, Uttarkashi.
Sivananda teachers for all courses are skilled and experienced in the subject they teach. They are all graduates of the internationally renowned Sivananda Yoga Teachers’ Training Course and teach on a voluntary basis. They take forward the teachings of our gurus, Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda for the joy that comes from service.
We offer courses and programmes in yoga and yoga-related topics, including Ayurveda, Panchakarma, meditation, yoga philosophy, yoga for beginners, trainings and advanced trainings for yoga teachers, Kids & Teens Yoga, etc. Please see our home page for details.
The Teachers’ Training Course or TTC was designed by Swami Vishnudevananda in 1969 and is an intensive four-week residential programme. The curriculum covers the study of yoga scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita, Vedanta philosophy, and aspects of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, along with comprehensive training in yogakriyas, asana, pranayama and meditation. A disciplined yogic lifestyle is followed including vegetarian diet, morning and evening satsang and chanting. The course is internationally recognised by the Quality Council of India (Government of India) and Yoga Alliance. Read more.
The Advanced Teachers’ Training Course allows graduates of the TTC to expand their knowledge going deeper into the practice of asana, pranayama, meditation, study of scriptures, anatomy & physiology and more advanced teaching skills in a four-week residential intensive. Read more.
Sadhana Intensive, open to TTC graduates, is a two-week intensive residential programme devised by Swami Vishnudevananda based on his own personal spiritual practice in the Himalayas. This course is based on individual self-practice of hatha yoga of up to 6-10 hours, divided into two or three sessions per day. This is balanced by the study of devotional yoga scriptures. The emphasis is on intense and prolonged pranayama practice. Read more.
Yes. There are no prerequisites for the Teacher Training Course. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the teachings by attending classes or programmes at one of our Centres or Ashrams. TTC is primarily intended for self-development with the tools to share the basics of yoga.
The Teachers’ Training Course offers a rigorous immersion schedule to allow for trans-formation in the student and for profound training. The course allows free time between morning and evening satsang each Friday.
By the end of the Teachers’ Training Course (TTC), you will be able to teach a two-hour Sivananda yoga asana open class that includes initial relaxation, pranayama, sun salutation, the twelve basic postures and final relaxation. You will also learn teaching techniques applicable to children, the elderly and pregnant women.
Yes. Upon successful completion of the course students are certified by the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre organisation and receive a certificate as a Yoga Siromani (Teacher of Yoga). Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre organisation is a Yoga school certified by the Quality Council of India, Government of India. The training is also recognised by the Yoga Alliance at the 200-hour level.
The Teachers’ Training Course offers you an unparalleled classical yoga education and connection with an ancient yoga lineage. During the training you will live in the ashram as a part of the traditional ‘gurukula’ system, in which a student lives and learns with the teachers and other spiritual aspirants. You will be immersed in a yogic environment. If spirituality and all-round personal development interest you, you would choose our course. The approach to hatha yoga is simple yet traditional and classical, making it easy to teach and for students to learn.
Essential books are:
The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga – by Swami Vishnudevananda.
Bhagavad Gita – with commentary by Swami Sivananda.
Meditation and Mantras – by Swami Vishnudevananda.
Sivananda Training Manual (optional)
They can be purchased from our boutique, centres worldwide or online boutique.
A comprehensive TTC manual is included in the course fee.
We provide the Yoga Siromani diploma at the end of successful completion of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Teachers’ Training Course. The style is classical, traditional hatha yoga.
We do not collect such information after the course, but many thousands of our graduates are teaching throughout the world.
Yes. You will be required to submit daily assignments given by teachers during the course.
A laptop is not necessary nor recommended. However, it may be brought if felt necessary for personal reasons. We provide free Wi-Fi facility during specific breaks at all the India ashrams except for Sivananda Kutir, Netala.
Yes, as long as the length reaches below the knees. Trousers/bottoms should be com-fortable and not tight fitting.
A limited amount of Indian rupees will be needed for example for day trips, local shopping etc. There are ATM machines twenty minutes away from the ashram by bus if necessary.
The written exam and graduation is on the last day of the course (Saturday). Arrange to depart on the following day. If you are unable to collect the diploma before leaving, you will have to arrange for someone (with written permission) to collect it on your behalf. We do not send diplomas by post or courier.
We accept students of all levels of ability (above 18 years). Students are expected to be willing to participate in all aspects of the course at the same time respecting their own limitations. People with significant physical or psychological conditions are expected to provide a medical certificate certifying their fitness to participate. All students are expected to sign the course liability release form.
Women are discouraged to join in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy because of the high risk of spontaneous miscarriage. In later pregnancy, certain practices need to be modified or avoided. Like all students, she will need to sign a course liability release form.
I have found many TTC (200 hours) yoga schools in India offer their courses cheaper than your school. Despite such a price difference, what makes your school worth going to?
Apart from board and lodging, the training courses include numerous events that make the ashram experience memorable. These include pujas (traditional rituals), cultural programmes and celebrations on special occasions. Being one of the oldest and most respected yoga institutes in the world, we aim to maintain a consistently high standard of teaching at all our centres worldwide. We are a non-profit organisation. Our earnings go into developing the organisation and community works such as yoga education (scholarships), health provision, education and housing for the disadvantaged.
Yes, two massages are included during the programme. For a modest fee extra sessions can be booked separately depending on availability.
Please note the following points:
- Couples are not allowed to stay together during TTC, ATTC and Sadhana Intensive. This is to promote celibacy, independence and detachment.
- Children below 5 years are not allowed to stay in the ashram during the high season (October – April inclusive). This is to avoid any possible disturbances for other guests.
- Men are not allowed to visit the ladies´ dormitory and women are not allowed to visit the men’s dormitory.
- The TTC is generally considered challenging by most participants without the added responsibility of looking after children. We do not provide childcare. Children accompanying adults must be mature enough to look after themselves.
The cornerstone of our ‘gurukula’ system (residential study) is selfless service, known as karma yoga. Swami Sivananda taught that the act of offering our services for the benefit of others purifies the heart and takes us further along the path of spiritual evolution. Karma Yoga is a devotional practice; it is service performed with no expectation of reward. One who practises karma yoga dedicates all thoughts and actions to the greater good. At the ashram, karma yoga takes the form of work that is performed in service to the ashram community.
There are a wide variety of assignments, which fall under these categories:
- Food service
- Garbage removal/recycling
- Health Hut
- Marketing/ promotion/design
- Reception/ reservations/administration
- Tea and food serving
While we do ask what you are interested in and what skills you bring, a part of the practice of Karma Yoga is to stay open to whatever assignment you are given and to do your best at that assignment. If you have a unique skill set or special request, you can indicate it on your application.
A Tourist Visa (only) is required for TTC (28 days minimum)
Student should be 18 years of age or over.
Yes. The TTC and ATTC courses of SYVC are approved by the Quality Council of India under the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, and the Yoga Alliance of USA and Canada.
This depends on the ashram; our smallest ashram Sivananda Kutir, Uttarkashi can only accommodate 35 students, Madurai Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai 80 students and Dhanwantari Ashram, Neyyar Dam 180 students.