Who we are?

Swami Sivananda





One of the great sages of modern times is the inspiration behind our organization. Swami Sivananda’s teachings are a synthesis of all the formal doctrines of Yoga.

Although he rarely left the little town of Rishikesh (with only 2 India tours and no visits abroad) Swami Sivananda’s teachings spread quickly throughout our entire planet. He personally wrote more than 200 books on topics connected to Yoga and Philosophy. He wrote in a style that is very direct and bursting with dynamic, spiritual energy. As a result many who read his books felt their lives deeply touched and transformed. They came from all over India and all over the world, to learn from him directly, and to bask in his holy presence.

He trained many exceptional disciples in Yoga Vedanta, among them, Swami Vishnudevananda, whom he sent to spread the practice of Yoga in the West. His mottos : Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate and Realize, all summarize his teachings.

Swami Vishnudevananda





Disciple of Swami Sivananda, Swami Vishnudevananda was the founder of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. A world renowned authority on Hatha and Raja Yoga, and the author of the best-selling book, The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga. Swamiji was also known as the “Flying Swami” for the different peace missions he accomplished around the world.

He was convinced that outer peace cannot exist without inner peace. He became the first yoga master in the West to develop a comprehensive training program for yoga teachers, who would then inspire countless numbers of others in turn.

His motto is : “Health is wealth. Peace of mind is happiness. Yoga shows the way.”

5 Points of Yoga

The five points of yoga


Swami Vishnudevananda closely observed the lifestyles and needs of people in the west. He synthesized the ancient wisdom of yoga into five basic principles that could easily be incorporated into one’s own lifestyle, to provide the foundation for healthy living. It is around these five principles that the activities at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre are based.

1. Proper Exercise (Asanas) – Yoga postures help develop a strong, healthy body by enhancing flexibility and improving circulation. The Yogic physical exercises are called Asanas, a term which means steady pose. This is because the Yoga Asana (or posture) is meant to be held for some time. However this is quite an advanced practice. Initially, our concern is simply to increase body flexibility.

2. Proper Breathing (Pranayama) – Deep, conscious breathing reduces stress and many diseases. Yoga teaches us how to use the lungs to their maximum capacity and how to control the breath. Proper breathing should be deep, slow and rhythmical. This increases vitality and mental clarity.

3. Proper Relaxation (Savasana)- Helps keep the body from going into overload mode, easing worry and fatigue. During complete relaxation, there is practically no energy or “Prana” being consumed, slightly keeping the body in normal condition, while the remaining portion is being stored and conserved.

4. Proper Diet (Vegetarian) – Eating simple, healthy vegetarian foods that are easy to digest, notably has a positive effect on the mind and body, as well as the environment and other living beings. The Yogi is concerned with the subtle effect that food has on his mind and astral body. He therefore avoids foods which are overly stimulating, preferring those which render the mind calm and the intellect sharp. One who seriously takes to the path of Yoga should avoid ingesting meats, fish, eggs, onions, garlic, coffee, tea (except herbal), alcohol and drugs.

5. Positive Thinking (Vedanta) and Meditation (Dhyana) – These are the true keys to achieving peace of mind and eliminating negativity in our lives.When the surface of a lake is still, one can see to the bottom very clearly. This is impossible when the surface is agitated by waves. In the same way, when the mind is still, with no thoughts or desires, you can see the “Self”. This is called Yoga.

4 Paths of Yoga

The four paths of Yoga


Swami Sivananda’s Yoga of Synthesis integrates the four paths of Yoga in order for the aspirant to develop himself/herself in a complete way.

1. Karma Yoga or selfless service :

Also known as the Yoga of action, Karma Yoga is the core of the entire Sivananda Organization. Put in a simple way, it is the path of Yoga where one serves with no expectations or reward. The duties are performed with the feeling that one is serving God through humanity. Karma Yoga is meant to purify the ego, for as one serves, one becomes an instrument in the hands of God, losing his/her identification with the work done and forgetting about his/her own wants and needs.

2. Bhakti Yoga or the Yoga of devotion :

In Swami Sivananda’s words, Bhakti Yoga is the easiest and surest way to attain God-Realization in this present age. Through prayers, chants and worship, one turns his/her emotions into devotion, developing an unconditional love toward all creation, for God is beheld everywhere.

3. Raja Yoga :

Raja Yoga deals with the control of the mind through the study and understanding of its workings. A set of practices is prescribed to discipline and control the components of the human being : body, prana (vital energy) and mind. With the tools provided by these practices, one develops will-power and clarity of mind.

4. Jñana Yoga or the Yoga of knowledge :

This is the intellectual approach of Yoga. Through the practice of Vedanta and a deep philosophical enquiry, one investigates the nature of the Self. This path is said to be the most difficult one, for the aspirant needs some previous qualifications as well as great will power and courage to face the Truth.

All our teachers are graduates of the Sivananda Yoga Teachers’ Training Course.


Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Montreal

5178, St-Laurent blvd
Montreal, Quebec
H2T 1R8
(between Laurier and Fairmount)


(514) 279 3545



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