The Sanskrit word “svaroopa” means knowledge of one’s self from deep inside, and svaroopa yoga attempts to give its practitioners this inner understanding.
Using the principles of ancient yoga, Rama Berch, currently called Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati, founded the Master Yoga Foundation and began giving her students instruction in svaroopa yoga in 1976. By 1996, it had become one of the most popular yoga styles practiced in the United States.
This form of yoga places the emphasis of each pose on opening the spinal column progressively from bottom to top. Students work toward transcending themselves using asanas, yoga philosophy, and anatomy. This form of yoga promises healing and transformational release of stress.
The svaroopa yoga poses are designed to open the core of the body to bring about better health and healing. It does this by relieving the pressure on the body’s internal systems to make them function more efficiently. Advocates claim the following health benefits: headache relief, improved lung function, better digestion, and a more powerful immune response. Students of svaroopa yoga also insist that it relieves stress after just one session and releases the tension held deep within the organs of the body and the muscles that surround the spinal cord.
Svaroopa Yoga Asanas
Many of the same traditional poses of yoga are used in svaroopa yoga, but they are given a different emphasis. The focus is always on the spine and reaching the inner core of the body through proper angles and alignment. Svaroopa yoga is known as a gentle form, and the movements are slow and easy to give deeper tension time to uncoil. For this reason, positions are held longer than many other forms of yoga.
Svaroopa yoga works for young and old with students ranging from twenty to seventy. It is particularly good for those currently experiencing pain in the back or knees. It works well for those with pinched nerves or those who suffer from sciatica.
According to Swami Saraswati, every aspect of svaroopa yoga is structured to enhance self discovery, and students experience great tranquility during the process.