Swami Satyananda structured the vision of Swami Sivananda, the philosophy, practices, applications and lifestyle, into a practical and scientific system. As a tribute to his efforts, this system of yoga is known worldwide as Satyananda Yoga or Bihar Yoga.
The Satyananda Yoga system is a complete science of harmonious living, suitable for everyone, regardless of age, gender, mental condition and level of fitness. Addressing the whole person, not just the physical body, Satyananda Yoga provides a systematic method of integration of mind, body and spirit, and process of developing the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual faculties in life.
Swami Satyananda did not focus on any particular branch of yoga; rather, he developed a holistic or integral yoga system in which the tools can be found to integrate the entire personality and fine-tune the different aspects.
The different yogas become the means of attaining this personal harmony and integrated expression.
Hatha yoga is used to balance the physical and mental flows of energy. Raja yoga is used to adjust and fine-tune the mental behaviour, attitudes and involvement in the material world. Yamas, restraints, and niyamas, disciplines, become methods of mind management. The practices of pratyahara and dharana engender development of faculties of the intellect. The qualities of the heart are awakened by combining the attainments of the meditative process with karma yoga, allowing pure, unconditioned feelings and sentiments to be expressed.
Yoga for head, heart and hands
Satyananda Yoga seeks to awaken and integrate the faculties of head, heart and hands. The head represents intellect, mind, wisdom, understanding, knowledge, awareness and observation. The heart represents emotions, feelings and sentiments. The hands represent the ability to act, to perform and to create.
Integral development cannot be attained if one or the other of these aspects of the personality is neglected. To become harmoniously balanced in all directions is the ideal of yoga.