Great Masters of YOGA

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7 Ways to Better Yoga Practice
4th September 2015
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Great Masters of YOGA

GreatMastersofYoga
tapaḥ svādhyāy eśvarapraṇidhānāni kriyā yogaḥ - II.1 Pathanjali’s Yoga Sutras
Disciplined practice, self study and surrendering to God is Kriya Yoga.

Yoga is more commonly and popularly known as a set of postures, breathing and meditation techniques. Yoga is a very broad and deep subject , and in essence is “Methods and Practices through which a sādhaka (practitioner) can transcend the body and mind and become one with the supreme consciousness i.e.. attain moksha or liberation”. The tradition and “way of life” of Yoga has passed on to us by Gurus through many generations. Each Great Master of Yoga contributed by delving deep into one or more aspects of the science. It is imperative for anyone interested in Yoga to learn about these great souls who gifted us the legacy of this vast knowledge for our and future generations to benefit from.
Lord Sri Krishna

Lord Sri Krishna


Lord Sri Krishna - The supreme deity of Hindu traditions. In 3100 BC ( 5100 years ago) during the great battle of Kurukshetra, Lord Sri Krishna narrated the verses of Bhagavad Gita to his disciple Arjuna. The Lord enumerates the yogic principles of Karma, Jnana, Bhakti and Raja Yoga in the 18 chapters of the Gita. Any one seeking to understand Yoga in its true sense and not merely as a physical exercise, should read and own a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. There are some good english commentaries on the Gita like “The Holy Gita” by Swami Chinmayananda and “Essays on Gita” by Sri Aurobindo in freely downloadable format
Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva


Yogic and tantric traditions regard Lord Shiva as the first Yogi or Adi Yogi. According to legends the secrets of Yoga revealed themselves to Lord Shiva out of his own realisation on Mount Kailas. Siva Sutras and Vighyana Bhairava Tantra are texts attributed to Lord Shiva and deal with methods of liberation. Lord Shiva is believed to have imparted the knowledge of Yoga first to Parvathi or Shakti and then to the Saptha Rishis or seven great Sages.

Maharshi Patanjali

Maharshi Patanjali


Maharṣi Patañjali - Known to have lived around 400 CE in India. Some historians argue that Patañjali lived much earlier between 300 BC - 200 BC . His foundational work on Yoga, Yoga Sūtras, is a master piece that every Yoga practitioner should own as a reference guide. The Yoga Sūtras (aphorisms) are written in Sanskrit in a highly condensed form , not easily digestible with just knowledge of the sanskrit language. A well rounded knowledge of many sacred texts like the Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita is a pre-requisite to make sense of the Sūtras. Good commentaries in english on the Sūtras are by I.K.Taimni and Swami Satchinanda. This material is more like a companion for a sādhaka in the path of Yoga. The “what” and “how to achieve” with Yoga is covered by Yoga Sūtras .
Yogi Svatmarama

Yogi Svatmarama


Yogi Svātmārāma - Compiler of the Haṭha Yoga Pradipika , a manual for the practice of Haṭha Yoga discipline. Known to have lived during 15th or 16th Century. The Haṭha Yoga Pradipika and Yoga Sūtras by Patañjali contain many concepts in common , however the Pradipika is more of a manual ,dealing with explanation of practices related to āsanas, prānāyāma and baṇdhas. Many of the kriyas mentioned must be performed under expert guidance. Some concepts do sound very dated and have to be taken with a ‘pinch of salt’. Popular english commentaries are by Muktibodhananda Swami and Brian Dana Akers.

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda


Swāmi Vivekānanda - A 19th Century Swāmi of India and most influential figure in popularising Yoga and Vedanta in the western world, mainly USA and UK. Swami Vivekananda is revered in India and all over the world as an inspiration for the Youth. A selfless being who practiced and advocated Karma Yoga, the Yoga of doing your best work or action without getting attached to the results. He founded the Ramakrishna math and named it after his beloved guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Swami Vivekananda’s books on Jnāna Yoga, Rāja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga are simple, succinct and exceptional works. Vivekananda - A biography by Swami Nikhilananda captures the life of Vivekananda well and is a book worth reading.
Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo


Sri Aurobindo - A yogi, poet and nationalist who participated in the Indian Independence Movement against British rule in India. Sri Aurobindo was jailed for the articles he wrote against British rule. He developed and advocated a spiritual practice which he called as Integral Yoga. Most of his works are available freely for download on http:://www.sriaurobindoashram.org. His work draws mainly from Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita. His Synthesis of Yoga delves into practical aspects of Internal Yoga. Aurobindo’s writings, or essays are very detailed and run into a thousand pages each. Further, each paragraph may have to be read multiple times to understand its full essence.

Sri T Krishnamacharya

Sri T Krishnamacharya


Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya - Regarded by many as the “Father of modern yoga”. Krishnamacharya’s students like B.K.S Iyengar and K.Pattabhi Jois went on to become world renowned Yoga Gurus of the 20th century. He is also considered the founder of Vinyasa style of Yoga, which was later popularised and taught by K.Pattabhi Jois. Sri T. Krishnamachari used yoga and ayurvedic science to heal people.
Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda


Paramahansa Yogananda - Founder of the Self Realisation Fellowship and the first Indian Yoga guru to teach Yoga as a practice in America. His teachings are packaged in a program termed as kriya yoga . Swami Yogananda’s Yogoda Satsanga Society offers a 3.5 years mail in program for almost free(only postage charges). http://www.yogananda-srf.org

Swami Sivananda  Saraswati

Swami Sivananda Saraswati


Swami Sivananda Saraswati - A practicing doctor who took up ascetic life to purse spirituality and serve people. He founded the Divine Life Society(DLS) and wrote over 200 books on Yoga, religions, upanishads, and other subjects. He suggested a 5 point approach to Yoga. Proper Posture, Proper Breathing, Proper Relaxation, Proper Diet and Positive Thinking & Meditation. Kundalini Yoga as it is practised today is based on Swami Sivananda’s teachings.
Sri BKS Iyengar

Sri BKS Iyengar


BKS Iyengar - By far the most influential Yoga Guru of the 20th century. He has inspired millions of people around the world , to include Yoga as part of their daily life, mainly from a physical health point of view. His international best seller guide Light on Yoga , is a must have for every yoga practitioner or teacher. BKS developed a unique method which he called Iyengar Yoga, where props like blocks, pillows, chairs, ropes are used to help people hold a posture. A method now used extensively in therapeutic Yoga or if a practitioner is unable to perform a posture due to physical limitations.

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois


Sri K. Pattabhi Jois - Student of Sri T. Krishnamachari and instrumental for popularising the Astanga Vinyasa style of Yoga practice. Many of his western students went on to start popular Yoga studios in the US and other western countries.
Other popular Yoga gurus are Swami Satyananda,Sri T.K.V.Desikachar, Indra Devi(Eugenie V), Sri Sri Ravishankar, Sri Baba Ramdev and Sri Jaggi Vasudev to name a few. Saluting all the great masters for spreading the wealth of Yogic sciences. Sri Ramana Maharshi said “ The Self manifests externally as the Guru when the occasion arises, otherwise he is always within, doing what is necessary ”. Searching and finding your true self is Self-realisation. And Yoga is the path of self-realisation. OM!

The author Krishna Raju is founder of ShuddhiYoga , an initiative spreading authentic, practical, sustainable health programs based on Yogic Sciences.

e-mail : krishna.shuddhiyoga@gmail.com

Phone : +91 9845105079

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Krishna Raju
Krishna Raju
Founder Director of ShuddhiYoga. Practices and teaches classical, authentic, practical, sustainable Yogic practices.

2 Comments

  1. Sayi Sarat Chandra Parvatam says:

    Wow !! – The article great masters of Yoga is very well captured – This is very informative and lot to learn too – Appreciate you taking out time in building this article and shaping it very well. Thank you very much and looking forward for more and more of these to come

  2. Sheethal says:

    Really nice mssgs.. Good to learn about yoga .. I shall share this more to my loved ones 😊

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