How To Lead a Sivananda Yoga Class

One of the best forms of exercise is yoga. Not only does it exercise your body, it also quiets your mind giving you an overall feeling of calm and serenity. One form of yoga is Sivananda yoga inspired by Swami Sivananda. It is a fusion of yoga tradition that goes beyond the physical yoga poses.

Sivananda yoga is based on five principles, namely:

  • Asana or proper exercise
  • Pranayama or proper breathing
  • Savasana or proper relaxation
  • Vedanta or positive thinking
  • Dhyana or meditation

A vegetarian or other proper diet is also an important component.

A number of Sivananda practitioners eventually become teachers of this yoga style. If you plan to lead a Sivananda yoga class, here is what you need to do.

  • Complete a Teachers Training Course for Sivananda yoga. There are a number of Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers in the United States and worldwide. The Teacher Training Course is a four-week intensive course will give you the opportunity to strengthen your yoga practice through self-discipline. At the same time, you will learn teaching skills that you can use to effectively impart the five principles of Sivananda yoga. After passing the course, you will receive a certification and an accreditation allowing you to teach Sivananda yoga.
  • Get hired as a Sivananda yoga teacher. Look for Sivananda Yoga centers in your area. Apply for a position as a yoga instructor. You can also check online for possible job openings as a Sivananda yoga teacher.
  • Begin each class with breathing techniques and the preliminary exercises. Start the class by sitting cross legged on the mat. The eyes are closed, the back is straight. Ask your students to inhale and exhale deeply and evenly. Do the preliminary exercises that include neck and shoulder rolls.
  • Perform sun salutations. Explain and demonstrate how to perform sun salutations which effectively stretches the body in various ways. This is a graceful sequence comprised of twelve positions that students need to perform as a continuous exercise. Every position in the sun salutations counteracts the previous pose. Breathing is regulated by the alternate expanding and contracting of the chest. The sun salutations bring flexibility to the spine and the joints. It also trims the waist. Performing the sun salutations prepares Sivananda practitioners for the 12 asanas.
  • Teach the 12 asanas. Demonstrate and explain the Sivananda asanas in sequence. These asanas start with the headstand followed by the shoulder stand. Teach the students the plough, fish, forward bend, cobra, locust and the bow. Follow these asanas with the spinal twist and crow pose. Finish off with the last two poses which are the standing forward bend and the triangle.
  • End with the savasana pose. Finish your class with a final relaxation pose, the savasana. As the students lie flat on their backs, instruct them to breathe deeply as they move their attention from one part of their body to the next starting from their toes. Your students should be able to relax every part of their body completely. Their minds should become calm and empty as all tension is released during savasana.

To lead a successful Sivananda yoga class, you as an instructor should have the proper training and the right mind set. Any form of yoga should not be treated as a mere physical activity but more as a way of life. Lead your students to become true Sivananda yoga practitioners not only by performing the poses properly but through inspiring them to achieve spiritual and mental well-being as well.


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