Positioning Yoga: Balancing Acts across Cultures

By Sarah Strauss | Go to book overview

Afterword: Virtual Yoga

Laramie, Wyoming - February, 2004

did a web search for Swamiji and found his own personal website. He's living in the
eastern United States; his website, however, is hosted in Italy by an Italian yoga
teacher who is also one of Swamiji's own students. The site includes links to another
yoga teacher in Switzerland, recipes for cooking healthy Indian food, instructions
regarding the use of mantras, and stories related to spiritual development. In
addition, one link leads to a short treatise on how to apply Swami Sivananda's
maxim “Adapt, Adjust, Accommodate” to daily life, using the breathing techniques
and physical postures of yoga as an anchor for a balanced life. The Swiss and Italian
yoga teachers identify themselves as Swamiji's students in their advertising literature
for yoga classes (brochures presented as *.pdf files linked to their respective
websites), and so the lineage to the Sivananda tradition is made explicit. However,
on his own page, Swamiji also advertises his approach as “Swara Yoga,” differentiat-
ing himself by focusing on a particular aspect of yoga practice, swara, or the use of
breathing techniques extended beyond the basic skills generally taught under the
heading of pranayama. The website also gives contact information for Swamiji, and
the interested reader is invited to seek further explanations via email, telephone, or
postal mail. Most of the links on the website are unfinished, leaving the primary
content of the site limited to the “Adapt, Adjust” statement and a very nice photo-
graph of Swamiji showing his delightful sense of humor shining through laughing
eyes and a big smile. He is sitting in lotus position in a spring garden filled with
flowers; it is an image that, like the one where he is floating in the Ganga, compels
one to look again and again.


Going Global: Sivananda on the World Wide Web

Over the past several years, I tried to find evidence of a web presence for many people whom I had met in Rishikesh, with variable degrees of success. The Divine Life Society and its affiliates have continually refined their websites. Swamiji was never visible to my web-roving eye; the hotel in Rishikesh had a website, but did not mention the availability of yoga instruction, causing me to wonder about what had happened to him. One effort to reach him in the late 1990s by postal mail and fax was to no avail, and after that, I did not try for another few years. Lilias Folan,

-141-

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Positioning Yoga: Balancing Acts across Cultures
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Glossary and Orthographic Note xiii
  • “Lineage” of Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh xvii
  • Preface a Note to Anthropologists and Interested Others … xix
  • 1: Re-Orienting Yoga 1
  • 2: Lives and Histories 23
  • 3: Balancing Acts 53
  • 4: Moving Out 87
  • 5: Yoga 115
  • Afterword: Virtual Yoga 141
  • Notes 145
  • Bibliography 157
  • Index 177
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