Shivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers
(est. 1958)
   Shivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers were founded by Swami Vishnudevananda (1927–93), based on the teachings of his GURU Swami Shivananda SARASWATI (1887–1963) of RISHIKESH. Shivananda developed an integral system of YOGA, joining the four traditional paths (BHAKTI, KARMA, JNANA, and raja) with the addition of japa (repetition of a mantra). He established an ASHRAM and dispen-sary in Rishikesh, India, and later established the Divine Life Society there.
   Swami Vishnudevananda became a disciple of Swami Shivananda in 1947 after reading Sivana-nda’s books. Over the course of a decade Vishnu-devananda was personally trained by Shivananda and became one of his most accomplished yoga students, adept at hatha yoga and raja yoga. In 1957 Shivananda instructed Vishnudevananda to spread his teachings in North America. Vish-nudevananda established headquarters the fol-lowing year in Montreal, Quebec, and continued to found centers across the United States. In 1962 the Shivananda Ashram Yoga Camp in Quebec was formed and in 1967 Vishnudevananda estab-lished the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas. He also founded the True World Order, a peace mission that began in 1969 to organize demonstrations for nonviolent struggle. The orga-nization is known for conducting air drops of leaflets and flowers over conflict-filled areas in the world. The most notable mission occurred in Belfast in 1970.
   Although Shivananda never traveled to North America, Vishnudevananda assured the spread of his message. Sivananda’s system of yoga con-tinues to be a central teaching at the Vedanta centers, with an emphasis on hatha yoga and raja yoga. There are currently about 80 ashrams and centers around the world, including 14 in the United States. Over 10,000 teachers have been trained. The Shivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers have earned the reputation of preserving the qual-ity and tradition of yoga.
   Shivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers have pub-lished several books including Vishnudevananda’s The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, which has sold millions of copies. The center also produces a periodical, Yoga Life, that is available free through the organization’s Web site, www.sivananda.org.
   Further reading: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers, The Sivananda Companion to Yoga (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000); ———, The Yoga Cookbook: Vegetarian Food for Body and Mind (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999); ———, Yoga Mind and Body (New York: D.K., 1996); Vishnudevananda, Swami, The Complete Illus-trated Book of Yoga (New York: Harmony Books, 1988); ———, Meditation and Mantras (New York: OM Lotus, 1978); ———, The Sivananda Companion to Yoga (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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