Personal Stories: Connecting with the Sivananda Yoga Postures
Each week for the next 12 weeks, we will be posting a new posture story on our blog, following the sequence of the Sivananda Yoga practice. All are true stories from brave souls who were willing to share their inner workings and private relationship with a certain posture or practice.
If you look around the room in an asana class, you see only the outer manifestation of the asanas. But on the inside, everyone has their own thoughts, feelings, and stories. The beauty of the asanas is they offer a different experience for everyone, and sometimes even a different experience for the very same person but at different points of life.
The Sivananda Yoga sequence
The 12 postures of the Sivananda Yoga practice, designed by Swami Vishnudevananda, are ordered in that particular sequence very much on purpose. These yogic exercises, when done correctly, influence and positively energize all systems of the body: the circulatory system, endocrine system, the respiratory system, the nervous system, and the digestive system. The muscles are strengthened and tones, the joints are lubricated, and the spine becomes supple.
One of the most appreciated aspects of this sequence is its accessibility and friendliness for the development of a home practice. Swami Vishnudevananda never wanted yoga to seem complicated or out of reach, exclusive only for advanced practitioners. He believed yoga is for everybody. His idea was to bring more people to yoga by offering a potent practice for daily life. The Sivananda Yoga sequence can be modified for more beginner and advanced practitioners, and it’s simple enough to remember, even for novice practitioners.
Learning from the postures
The physical benefits of the asanas are only the beginning. As we practice each asana, with diligence and patience, we begin to see each asana is a teacher. Just as in life, some teachers are gentle and compassionate, while others point unapologetically to our weaknesses — breaking down our egos and pride.
True of our many teachers throughout life, we find some enjoyable and others detestable. But isn’t it often true that the quality of a teacher is ultimately demonstrated in how much we grow as students? A difficult teacher can sometimes be the best one.
As we practice each asana, viewing them each as teachers, we not only transform on a physical level, but also on emotional and energetic levels. There are deep changes that occur and sometimes we don’t realize the transformation, especially as it’s occurring. We may notice only after some time, that we’ve become more patient or forgiving person … or strong and confident … or nurturing and receptive.
We are happy to present a series of stories submitted by Sivananda Yoga practitioners from around the world, of all ages, nationalities, genders, and yoga backgrounds.
As you read these stories, we invite you to not only enjoy them, but to explore your own relationships with each asana. What have they taught you? How have they helped you heal? How have they frustrated or challenged you? How have your relationships with them progressed or changed?
With gratitude to everyone who selflessly submitted their stories so we all can benefit.
Om Shanti. Om Peace.
Read the stories (new ones added weekly):
- Making Peace with Sun Salutations
- Conquering Headstand at Age 61
- Grounding Through Shoulderstand
- How Halasana Became My Family
- A Pivotal Moment in Fish Pose
- Paschimothanasana and Breaking My Own Resistance
- How Cobra Lifted Me Up
- Learning to Love Locust
- The Ugliest Bow
- Lightening Up in the Spinal Twist
- Finding Balance, the Space Between Extremes
- A Rush of Blood to the Head with Standing Forward Bend
- The Wrong Triangle Pose
- The Power of Savasana