Integral Yoga® Teachings
“Yoga” means “union” in the ancient Sanskrit language. It is a perfect description of the Integral Yoga teachings which synthesize the various branches of Yoga into a comprehensive lifestyle system. The aim is to promote the harmonious development of every aspect of the individual. The six branches of Integral Yoga are powerful tools to encourage wellness and self-mastery. Its results are subtle, profound, and measurable.
Six Branches of Integral Yoga
The path of the physical practice of Yoga
Includes asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), mudras, kriyas, yogic diet, and deep relaxation.
These practices help to purify and strengthen the body and mind.
The path of concentration and meditation
Balancing and controlling the mind utilizing the eight limbs of Yoga delineated in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This leads ultimately to the state of samadhi, or super-consciousness.
The path of wisdom
With study, self-analysis, and awareness, one ceases to identify with the body and mind, and realizes the Oneness. The path of wisdom takes an analytical approach to the question: “Who am I?”
The practice of mantra repetition
The concentrated repetition of a mantra (a sound vibration representing an aspect of the Divine) leads to an awareness of and attunement to this cosmic vibration.
Integral Yoga & Wellness
Swami Satchidananda’s approach to mind-body health was decades ahead of its time in the West. He defined disease essentially as a state of “dis-ease” that could be remedied (and prevented) by a vegetarian diet, stress reduction through the Yoga practices and philosophy, and living a useful life of selfless service.
This holistic approach sparked a revolution in evidence-based Yoga therapy treatment programs for cancer, heart disease, immune diseases, physical disabilities, PTSD, addictions, and more.
The beauty and bounty of nature inspire Integral Yoga practitioners to live with gratitude and reverence for our planet, to use natural organic products and be earth-friendly in all activities.
“Be easeful physically, be peaceful mentally, and then be useful in your life. It’s not that you are going to acquire ease and peace newly. It is there already. If you only could take good care of it and see that you do not disturb it, it remains. So in our lives, we should be always vigilant and see that we do not do anything that would disturb the ease and peace of the mind and body.” ~Swami Satchidananda
Integral Yoga & Interfaith Values
Integral Yoga is also based on interfaith values. Swami Satchidananda taught that all faiths share essential universal principles and he encouraged Integral Yogis to respect and honor the unity in diversity. This is summarized by his motto, “Truth is one, paths are many.”
“My motto has always been, ‘Truth is One, Paths are Many.’ The great sages and saints have experienced the same truth but only expressed it in different ways. It does not matter what name you give to the nameless Spirit—you are free to call it whatever you like. The only way to eternal peace and joy is to realize that Spirit. But when we miss that point, we fight in the name of Spirit.” ~Swami Satchidananda
Built in Yogaville—Integral Yoga’s international headquarters—the Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS) is a unique temple dedicated to interfaith understanding and the Light within all faiths. Individual altars represent and honor the different world faiths and spiritual paths.
Yogaville: Integral Yoga & Community
“My vision of Yogaville is a little heaven on the earth. It is a village filled with people who follow the yogic principles. Everything conducive to Yoga will be seen there. Our goal is to make a beautiful Yoga community. If we can’t make this little world of ours a happy and harmonious place to live, there is no point in talking about global harmony or global peace.” —Swami Satchidananda
From the earliest days of Integral Yoga, Swami Satchidananda spoke about the benefits of sangha (community). The importance of coming together with other spiritual seekers to provide support and inspiration on the path of Yoga is a hallmark of Swami Satchidananda’s Integral Yoga teachings.
In 1979, Swami Satchidananda founded Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville, Virginia, as an optimal environment in which to study and live the principles of Integral Yoga. This Yoga village in the rural countryside, bordered by the James River, serves as a residential Yoga community, a teaching center, a spiritual sanctuary, and as headquarters for the global Integral Yoga organization. Surrounding the Ashram is the thriving Yogaville community, spanning four generations, whose members purchased additional property to build their homes and raise their families.
Swami Satchidananda described his vision for Yogaville as a sample “heaven on earth,” where people of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds come to together to live the teachings of Integral Yoga. Some 10,000 people visit Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville annually for guest visits and day trips, and to participate in workshops, teacher trainings, celebrations, interfaith gatherings, and silent retreats.
At Integral Yoga gatherings throughout the world, satsangs (spiritual discourses), free open group meditations, and other workshops and events reinforce the sense of community that unites people and is essential to building a more peaceful world.
Integral Yoga Global Network
The Integral Yoga Global Network serves to bring connection, communication, and collaboration among the different Integral Yoga centers and communities around the world. Part of Integral Yoga Global Network’s work is to find ways to share Integral Yoga information and teachings with different countries in different languages.
Integral Yoga Experience
Integral Yoga Hatha is a transformative experience. At once, it soothes the mind and focuses the thoughts; it deeply relaxes and energizes. A seamless blend of the spiritual and physical, each Integral Yoga Hatha class begins with chanting to center the mind, moves through asana sequences essential for full-body health, and concludes with relaxation, breath work, and meditation.