Swami Vishnudevananda

Definition - What does Swami Vishnudevananda mean?

Swami Vishnudevananda (1927-1993) was a 20th-century guru and disciple of Swami Sivananda who established one of the first yoga teacher training programs in the West. Swami Vishnudevananda also founded the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres and authored the best-seller, "The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga." Swami Vishnudevananda's International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres now number 20, along with nine ashrams and many affiliated centers.

Considered an expert on Hatha and Raja yoga, Vishnudevananda was also a pilot. He flew a small plane — dubbed the Peace Plane — over troubled regions, including Northern Ireland, the Middle East and the Berlin Wall, to raise awareness and pray for peace.

Yogapedia explains Swami Vishnudevananda

Swami Vishnudevananda tirelessly campaigned for peace, meeting with religious and spiritual leaders to encourage interfaith dialogue. He even attempted to mediate a dispute between the Hindu and Sikh factions in India.

The swami boiled down the teachings of classical yoga into five basic pillars, or principles:

  1. Proper exercise: yoga asana practice to develop the body, mind and spirit
  2. Proper breathing: yogic breathing and pranayama practice
  3. Proper relaxation: relaxing body, mind and spirit
  4. Proper diet: lacto-vegetarian diet
  5. Positive thinking and meditation: thoughts harnessed by developing concentration through meditation
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