Swami Satchidananda explained: “The complete definition of Yoga is the serenity of mind. That’s all, in a few simple words. Equanimity of mind is Yoga: samatvam yoga ucchyate, says the Bhagavad Gita. That means equanimity is called Yoga. And there is also another sacred text that talks more about Yoga: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It begins with this definition: yoga chitta vritti nirodhah. That means to control the modifications, the restlessness, of the mind and to keep it serene. That is Yoga.”
When the mind is serene, then we experience our natural state of inner peace that is always there hidden behind the various movements within the mind.
What is Integral Yoga?
Integral Yoga, as taught by Sri Swami Satchidananda, offers a synthesis of six branches of classical Yoga: Hatha, Raja, Bhakti, Karma, Jnana, and Japa. These Yogas address all levels of the individual: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual in order to bring about one’s complete and harmonious development. The Integral Yoga system enables you to integrate Yoga into every aspect of life, bringing about the opportunity for personal transformation and spiritual realization. It blends nondual Yoga theory with practice, and focuses on inner peace for the individual—through the six branches of Yoga—and world peace by fostering interfaith understanding and harmony, and leading service-oriented lives.
Founded in 1966, there are currently 23 Integral Yoga centers on six of the seven continents and over 20,000 Integral Yoga teachers and therapists worldwide.
THE SIX BRANCHES OF INTEGRAL YOGA
To keep the body flexible, strong, healthy, and to prepare for meditation, we practice asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing practices), Yoga Nidra (guided deep relaxation), mudras (energy seals), bandhas (energy locks), kriyas (cleansing practices), and yogic diet.
A foundation for spiritual growth through the integration of ethical principles, with
the regular practice of concentration and meditation. It helps cultivate a well-disciplined mind, senses in alignment with our spiritual goals, pure heart, and dedicated life. The eight limbs of Raja Yoga, delineated in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, provide a methodical approach to spiritual practice.
To open and nourish the spiritual heart we have the practices of kirtan (chanting), puja (worship), and prayers. Through pure love, faith, and constant remembrance of the Divine—however we conceive of this—we can rise above the illusion of a separate self and experience union with the spirit that dwells within everything.
When we engage in our activities with a focused mind and loving intention we become pure channels of selfless service. When the heart and mind are trained to act for the well-being of all, without attachment to the outcome or personal reward, we can more fully experience the inner peace and joy that is our essence-nature
This path of wisdom includes self-analysis and systematic discrimination between Unity Consciousness and the ever-changing forms of creation. When we begin to identify less with the body, mind, and ego, we gain greater access to our inner wisdom and realize our essence-nature as the pure Light of Consciousness.
With so many approaches to meditation today, Sri Swami Satchidananda recommended mantra japa (mantra repetition) as one of the easiest and most effective forms of practice in this busy age in which we live. The concentrated repetition of a mantra, a specific sound vibration representing an aspect of the Divine, leads to an awareness of and attunement to this cosmic vibration.
In Integral Yoga, we honor our Guru, our lineage, and the classical Yoga teachings thus connecting with the principle of Guru-tattva and respecting the ancient tradition of Yoga. This principle points to the transmission of the teachings and practices coming through this Guru, lineage and tradition. Guru-tattva is that self-illuminating power of consciousness that manifests as all that teaches us.
The Integral Yoga system was synthesized by Sri Swami Satchidananda from his spiritual roots in the Tamil Saiva Yoga Siddhar tradition, the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and the nondual Yoga teachings of his Guru, Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati.
Students of Integral Yoga who receive mantra diksha (initiation) receive the bija mantra that comes from the Saiva Yoga tradition. Integral Yoga monastics are part of the Paramahamsa Order of Sannyas (Dasnami Sampradaya) founded by Adi Shankaracharya (8th century CE). Sri Swami Satchidananda was initiated into the Saraswati branch of this Sampradaya by his Guru, Sri Swami Sivananda in 1949.
Explore Integral Yoga® – Informational eBook
In honor of Integral Yoga’s 50th anniversary, a new publication titled Explore Integral Yoga offers a comprehensive overview of this organization founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda in 1966. This elegant, full color magazine showcases Integral Yoga teachings, programs, and services. It also includes a timeline of Integral Yoga milestones over the past 50 years.