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Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani

Yoga lessons at The Bihar School of Yoga. Photograph – Coni Hörler

EASTERN INDIA

Swami Satyananda and his disciples have put Bihar on the Yoga map with the Bihar School of Yoga that has been a beacon light for the seeker of Yoga. With numerous branches all over the world and Australia in particular, Swami Satyananda built up the Bihar School of Yoga on the back of the Ganges at Munger in the 1960s. A favourite chela of Swami Sivananda, his Bani encompasses the Yoga, Vedanta and Tantric traditions dealing with Yoga as a medium to gain and control the Psychic energies. The signature practice of the BSY is the Yoga Nidra that was developed by Satyananda.  Swami Niranjananda continues the work of his Guru after Swami Satyananda attained Maha Samadhi. The Ashram in the mid period had become a deemed university under the name of Bihar Yoga Bharathi offering masters courses in the science of Yoga but then has changed back due to numerous developments.

The Ramakrishna mission has continued the Bhakti Yoga movement started by Swami Vivekananda and spread all over the country. The main Ashram (Belur Mutt) in Kolkata (Calcutta) sits opposite the river from the Kali shrine (Dakshineshwar) where Ramakrishshna had his mystical experiences with Kali. The Swamis of this order are known for their great wisdom and compassion and the mission has carried out a great number of social projects for the underprivileged population. Translation of Indian cultural literature is another of the yeoman works by this mission. Their work in the Northeast along with the Vivekananda Kendra has been vital in maintaining the integrity of India.

Yogodha Satsangha, the Indian wing of the Self Realization fellowship was founded by Swami Yogananda and has been responsible for a great many westerners taking up the practice of Yoga through the medium of Kriya Yoga. His famous book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ was a starting point in the spiritual journey of many westerners. His Guru Sri Yukteshwar and Sri Ram Gopal Mujumdar (Swami Kanakananda) the Guru of Swami Gitananda were disciples of Sri Lahiri Mahasaya. Bikram Chowdhary the controversial Yoga star in the USA who founded Hot Yoga, claims to be a descendant of Swami Yogananda.

Paramahansa Yogananda. Photo Source –
https://yssofindia.or

Swami Ritajananda Saraswathi in Patna Yoga Vidyalaya has been a great inspiration to the people of Patna through his Yogashram and its publications. He has been a member of CCRYN and a great example of the Sivananda Yoga Tradition. Dr Niren Mujumdhar has been the guiding light for the Yoga Sports movement in India as the General Secretary and now as the Secretary General of the Indian Yoga Federation at Calcutta. His attempts to unify participants of Yoga sports and bring forth a standard have been achieved to some extent. His work with Swami Gitananda as well as Shri Gurupriya in Italy has paved the way for the International Yoga Federation that conducts Yogasana Championships all over the world with great success.

NORTH-EASTERN INDIA

Swami Sivananda of Guwahati and the Vivekananda Kendra have been instrumental along with the Ramakrishna Mission in keeping the Indian culture as well as Yoga alive in the North Eastern part of India that is sadly neglected even in the field of Yoga. Animesh Dhar has also been doing a good job with his time effective Yoga in this zone.

Yoga in Contemporary India: An overview is an essay written Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani. This article series keenly observes the lineages of well-known Yoga schools and research centres in India. 

Dr. Ananda is the chairman of the ICYER (International Centre for Yoga Education and Research) Ananda Ashram in Pondicherry, India. You can find more information about him in on his websites:  www.icyer.comwww.rishiculture.org

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