Svaroopa Yoga

Definition - What does Svaroopa Yoga mean?

Svaroopa yoga is a registered trademark for a type of Hatha yoga developed by Rama Berch (Swami Nirmalananda). This discipline of yoga focuses on opening the spine. It is a gentle style of yoga that releases and relaxes the muscles in the back to open up the flow of energy.

Svaroopa yoga has been described as a non-athletic form of yoga because of its subtle, gentle approach. The practice includes the use of props, such as blankets and blocks, to assist with the poses. There are also a lot of hands-on adjustments by the yoga instructor.

The term, svaroopa, comes from the Sanskrit sva, meaning “the self,” and roopa, meaning “form.” It translates to “the bliss of your own being” in English.

Yogapedia explains Svaroopa Yoga

Svaroopa yoga uses precise alignments in the asanas to decompress the spine, releasing deep tension and allowing energy to flow along it. The practice is designed to develop the person on a spiritual level as well, leading to inner transformation.

A basic tenet of Svaroopa yoga is that supporting the pose with props allows the muscles to release. Without some type of support, the muscles will work and strain to maintain the pose, rather than releasing tension. It is that release which allows the muscles to gain flexibility and strength. Props also allow the practitioner to adjust the asanas to fit the needs of their body and address any limitations they may have.

Svaroopa yoga teaches more than 100 poses (often variations of traditional asanas), but its foundation is in the "Magic Four" postures:

  1. Slow Motion Dive – From a seated position in a chair, the torso leans forward, sinking as far as possible or until the arms slide between the knees.
  2. Crook’d Leg Pose – The ankle of one leg is placed on the knee of the opposite leg. The lifted leg slides toward the hip as the chin lowers to the chest. If possible, the torso folds forward and the arms hang down.
  3. Lunge – This is a variation of a regular lunge that is performed from a kneeling position, with yoga blocks under the hands for support.
  4. Reclining Spinal Twist – From a face-up reclining position, the knees are bent 90 degrees, and the legs and hips roll to the side.

Certified Svaroopa yoga teachers have more than 500 hours of training in yoga philosophy, asana and anatomy through the Svaroopa Vidya Ashram that is based in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

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