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Spotlight on Integral Yoga

An integral class includes chanting, breathwork, and meditation, as well as physical poses.

By Nora Isaacs

THE PRINCIPLE: Integral Yoga combines a wide range of yogic practices—doing asana, studying spiritual texts, helping others, chanting mantras, and sitting in meditation—that lead to harmony and happiness.

THE FOUNDER: Swami Satchidananda (1914—2002), an Indian monk and student of Swami Sivananda. He spread his teachings throughout the West with the slogan "Truth is one, paths are many."

THE FACTOID: Satchidananda gave the opening speech at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969.

THE FOLLOWERS: Many practitioners view the physical poses as a path to quieting the body and mind for deep meditation. Integral's gentle poses and emphasis on meditation make it an ideal practice for the elderly, people with back pain or chronic illness, and pregnant women.

THE TEACHERS: Swami Ramananda, Swami Asokananda

THE STUDIOS: Integral's Virginia headquarters, Yogaville, include a residential community as well as teacher trainings, workshops, and intensives for guests. There are also Integral Yoga ashrams in San Francisco, New York, and India, as well as institutes throughout the world. Certified teachers throughout the country can be found through the Integral Yoga Teachers Association.
Nora Isaacs is a former Yoga Journal senior editor.
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Reader Comments

Kae. B. Maynes

I am just starting out in Yoga because in a summer group I am participating in, every thursday we have a yoga instructor come and teach us. I am actually very good at it already, yet the last time I did yoga was when I was in third grade I do believe, soooooo... going on 6 years ago! The reason I believe I am so good is that I am already VERY flexible, and, I was doing yoga moves on my own without realizing it! For example, I have gone to the extremes of the bow pose, and gotten my feet past my mouth! Yet, at the time, I had not known it was yoga. The instructor seemed to believe that I should start practicing at home as well, and gave me a couple of pages from her edition of Yoga Journal: June 2013. I took a look when I got home, and I decided to check out the website. I ended up taking this quiz, and now here I am. I have done several intermediate moves without realizing it, yet I can't even do some of the beginners! By the way, I'm only 14, so I have PLENTY of time to learn! Well, everyone, wish me luck!!! ^^

Jason Ray Brown

I began my journey in yoga with the Integral Yoga Institute in NYC in 1995. I taught at the IYI from 1998-2001, and subsequently went on to study under many other teachers within many different traditions. But I still credit the IYI with giving me the strong foundation in traditional yoga that informs my practice and teaching to this day. I am very grateful that the IYI exists, and hope that it continues to prosper in the years to come.

To anyone seeking a traditional, well-rounded approach to hatha yoga, pranayama, meditation, yogic diet and lifestyle... I highly recommend the IYI system.


As an Integral Yoga teacher I think Integral Yoga is really unique in that we are able to have or develop a strong practice while still remaining peaceful and easeful. The essence of peace and ease in the presence of strength I think is important in our definition. I like that the article described pretty accurately that people can expect chanting, pranayama, and meditation as well as asana in the Integral Yoga class. And of course, we're famous for our fabulous approach to Yoga Nidra.

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