The Right Approach

From On the Wings of the Swan, Volume VIII, Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

The yoga system as taught by Swami Sivananda, our paramguru, was called ‘integral yoga’. He did not say, “I am teaching hatha yoga,” or, “I am teaching raja yoga,” or “I am teaching bhakti yoga.” Swami Sivananda was the first person to integrate various components of yoga, to give impulse and power to the movement of life through the practices of yoga.

Many of the yoga organizations in the world today do not teach integral yoga. They only teach one type of yoga, either hatha yoga, raja yoga, kriya yoga or kundalini yoga. Integral yoga is the hallmark of the Sivananda tradition, which was further developed by Swami Satyananda. In this approach everything is taken in small quantities, as indicated by Swami Sivananda in his poem:

Eat a little, drink a little,
Talk a little, sleep a little.
Mix a little, move a little,
Serve a little, rest a little.
Work a little, play a little,
Study a little, worship a little.
Do asana a little, pranayama a little,
Reflect a little, meditate a little.
Do japa a little, do kirtan a little,
Write mantra a little, have satsang a little.

It makes sense as we are not expressions of a single quality, rather we express many different qualities in life. Therefore, a holistic or integral approach for the development of the human personality should be considered the right approach to learn yoga.