Sri Swami Satchidananda, Founder of Integral Yoga
Sri Swami Satchidananda (1914–2002) was one of the first Yoga masters to bring the classical Yoga tradition to the West, and he was welcomed as a truly universal spiritual teacher. The distinctive teachings he brought with him blend the physical discipline of Yoga, the spiritual philosophy of India, and the interfaith ideals he pioneered.
Sri Swamiji founded the global Integral Yoga® organization, Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville®, and the Light Of Truth Universal Shrine. He is the author of Integral Yoga Hatha, To Know Your Self, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Beyond Words, The Living Gita, and The Golden Present, among other titles. He is also the subject of the documentary, Living Yoga.
He received many honors for his humanitarian service including the Juliet Hollister Interfaith Award presented at the United Nations, the U Thant Peace Award and in honor of his centenary in 2014, the James P. Morton Interfaith Award. In addition, he served on the advisory boards of many world peace and interfaith organizations. For more information, please visit: swamisatchidananda.org.
The Integral Yoga System, Our Lineage, and the Guru Principle
The Integral Yoga system is designed to enable practitioners to experience their true nature of inner peace and joy and to bring this awareness into the world by fostering unity in diversity and by leading service-oriented lives. The Integral Yoga organization was founded in New York City in 1966 by Sri Swami Satchidananda, and there are currently 25 Integral Yoga centers on six of the seven continents and more than 20,000 certified Integral Yoga teachers and therapists worldwide.
The Integral Yoga system was synthesized by Sri Swamiji from his spiritual roots in the nondual Tamil Saiva Yoga Siddhar tradition (~300 BCE – 500 CE), classical Yoga (dating back to the Vedic period and later), and the teachings of his Guru, Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati (1887 – 1963). The practices of Integral Yoga are based in six branches of classical Yoga (Hatha, Raja, Japa, Karma, Bhakti, and Jnana) and are taught using an integrative—or “integral”—approach to address all aspects of the individual.
Students of Integral Yoga who receive mantra diksha (initiation) receive the bija mantra that comes from the Saiva Yoga tradition. Integral Yoga’s monastics are part of the Dasnami Sampradaya (Holy Order of Sannyas) 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.
In Integral Yoga, we honor our Guru, our lineage and the Yoga tradition, thus connecting with the principle of Guru-tattva and avoiding cultural appropriation. The Guru principle points to the transmission—the teachings and practices—coming through this person, lineage and tradition. What Guru-tattva is pointing us to is that when giving us these teachings and practices, our Guru is in the role of being a beacon of transmission. We venerate our Guru’s transmission of our tradition.
Integral Yoga History
Forty years ago, Americans knew almost nothing of Yoga. There were no Hatha classes at the local YMCA. Health food stores contained only bottles of vitamin supplements and photos of bodybuilders. Few understood the meaning of karma. When most people thought of a Yogi, they remembered a popular cartoon man sleeping on a bed of nails. All that changed when Sri Swami Satchidananda arrived on these shores in 1966. Read more >>
A Network of Integral Yoga
The community of Integral Yoga exists around the world, with Integral Yoga institutes and centers on six of the seven continents. Integral Yoga is also a founding member of the Yoga Alliance (the national organization of Yoga teachers).
Truth is One, Paths are Many
The international headquarters of Integral Yoga, Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville, in Buckingham, Virginia, is a large community dedicated to the teachings of Swami Satchidananda. Yogaville is home to the LOTUS (Light Of Truth Universal Shrine), which opened in July 1986. The shrine—inspired and designed by Sri Gurudev—is dedicated to the light of all faiths and to world peace and stands as a beautiful example of the universal teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda.
Integral Yoga Links
Integral Yoga: integralyoga.org
Integral Yoga Magazine: integralyogamagazine.org
Integral Yoga Teachers Association: www.iyta.org
Integral Yoga Distribution: yogahealthbooks.com
Integral Yoga Multimedia—Shakticom: www.shakticom.org
LOTUS (Light Of Truth Universal Shrine) lotus.org
Service in Satchidananda: sisproject.org