Swami Sivamurti Saraswati
Born and raised in Australia, Swami Sivamurti travelled to India in 1975 and met her guru, the great spiritual luminary, Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati, in Munger India, at his ashram, the Bihar School of Yoga. Upon meeting him, an instant connection and a strong bond was formed between guru and disciple.
She was initiated into the Dashnami order of Sannyasa after having acquired training from Sri Swami Satyananda in various branches of yoga and the tradition of sannyasa. On receiving her guru’s mandate to spread yoga in Greece, she brought the teachings of Satyananda Yoga to Greece in 1976.
Despite yoga being quite foreign to the people of Greece at that time, Swami Sivamurti, through relentless and sincere efforts attracted a growing number of people who assisted her in her mission.
Since 1976, Swami Sivamurti has been safeguarding the integrity, tradition, authenticity and the high quality of teaching of Satyananda Yoga in Greece.
In 1993, Swami Sivamurti was recognized as a Yoga Acharya (Master of Yoga) by the International Yoga Fellowship Movement (IYFM), and in 2004 she was appointed as a permanent guardian of the Satyananda Yoga Academy of Europe (SYAE) and as a Bihar Yoga Emissary.
In 2013, she was awarded the title of ‘Golden Yogi’ at the World Yoga Convention in India, in recognition of four decades of service to yoga while a year later, Swami Sivamurti was appointed as a member of the Yoga Vidya Council, in India, in respect of her dedication to the teachings, mission and propagation of the tradition of Satyananda Yoga.
The spirit of devotion and dedication has become the trademark of Swami Sivamurti Saraswati. She projects the spirit of devotion and dedication to her guru’s mission and an immense inner love for her guru. Many people also call her ‘the compassionate one’. The real miracle is when a person moves according to God’s wishes and does not make God move according to a person’s wishes. And this concept of miracle I have seen in the life of Swami Sivamurti Saraswati. She may have had many desires. She may have had many thoughts to do things on her own. But those thoughts, those ambitions, those ideas, have never superimposed themselves on the will of Paramahamsaji to whom she has dedicated herself.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
She has touched and opened a great many hearts, she has inspired, elevated and brought joy to thousands of people. Her life’s work is one of devotion, love and faith to her beloved guru. She serves him who is serving humanity.
Swami Satyananda, my guru, was as a man of faith, not intellect. He raised women to equal spiritual heights with men. People, young and old, from all walks of life and from diverse cultures, religions, and nationalities, loved Sri Swamiji. He went on numerous international tours where students, devotees, and well-wishers flocked to be in his presence. There was a power in him which was reflected in his thoughts, his words and his actions. It was the power of love. It was the power of purity, innocence and an overwhelming and encompassing sincerity. It was his unshakable faith in God and guru. It was the power of caring for the welfare of others, before his own. It was the power of God manifested in one human being which Sri Swamiji radiated in full glory.
Swami Sivamurti Saraswati
The first yoga center was set up in Kalamata1, followed by a center in Athens which relocated several times around Athens over the years. In 1984, the first ashram of its kind in Europe was built in Paiania, then a rural town just outside Athens, at the foothill of Mount Hymettus. Sri Swami Satyananda inaugurated the ashram in 1985, naming it “the true-bliss ashram”. Press link for more information
Satyanada Yoga Meditation Centers
As her work gained momentum, three major Satyananda Yoga Meditation Centers were set up in Athens, Thessaloniki and Paiania in 1977, 1981 and 2010 respectively, along with numerous independent centers which taught the Satyananda System of Yoga all over mainland Greece and on the islands of Crete and Lesvos. Press link for more information
Satyananda Math - Amba
In 1991, she founded Satyananda Math in honour of her guru to emulate, in some small way, his humanitarian work of ‘serve, love, give’ to the less privileged sectors of society in Greece. In 2018, she inspired the creation of Satyananda Math - Amba, a social cooperative, which continues the activities of Satyananda Math. Press link for more information
Satyananda Women’s groups
In 2007, Swami Sivamurti created the Satyananda Women’s Groups Athens, Volos, Larissa, Thessaloniki, Kavala and Kalamata with over 100 members, whose aim it is to cultivate the strengths inherent in every woman through the myriad of yogic techniques and practices within the Satyananda Yoga tradition. Press link for more information
Gurukul and Give Kids Yoga
One of Swami Sivamurti’s long-term undertakings is the Gurukul programs which have been taking place at the ashram for over 20 years. These specialized programs introduce children (ages 5-12) to the teachings of yoga through fun and games focusing on teamwork and cooperation. Many who had been through the Gurukul, now bring their own children to the programs. From this, the Give Kids Yoga project was born, which aims to introduce yoga practices into the public and private education systems in Greece.
As part of this project, the first national conference on Yoga and Kids was held at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens in 2019. Speakers included RYE2-Paris , doctors, psychologists, teachers from the private and public sectors, students and parents as well as Swami Sivamurti. Press link for more information
From 1990, the dissemination of the teachings of Sri Swami Satyananda, and later, of Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati and Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati, through translations and publications in Greece, has been a main priority of Swami Sivamurti. She has also authored many books, the most recent and distinguished being In his Footsteps (2019), a dedication and tribute to her guru Sri Swami Satyananda. Press link for more information
Educational programs in the Satyananda System of Yoga
Different educational programs have been guided or run by Swami Sivamurti from 1982 till today.
Hundreds of yoga teachers and instructors from Greece and abroad were trained in the Satyananda System of Yoga through the teacher training courses which were held at Satyanandashram Hellas in Paiania, and which was the only center providing training in the Satyananda System of Yoga in Greece.
The Yogic Studies Course was carried out in Greece from 2001 - 2004. Many in-service training courses for teachers and instructors have also been run at Satyanandashram over the years, and Acharyas from abroad have also been invited to give such courses.
Swami Sivamurti’s current focus is on Ashram Culture programs (in cooperation with the Teachers’ Union) aimed at inspiring and strengthening the connection of the teachers with the Parampara3 and deepening both the teachers’ and their students’ experience in ashram life.
In 2014, Enosi (the Association of Active Greek Yoga Instructors trained in the Satyananda System of Yoga) was established where members can unite and exchange ideas. Press link for more information
She introduced the Sangha Teacher Development sessions in 2019 to all teachers and instructors trained in the Satyananda System of Yoga in Greece for the purpose of upgrading their knowledge in all aspects of yoga and connecting them all to the tradition and teaching of Satyananda Yoga. Teachers and instructors are guided on how to imbibe the yogic practices into their daily lives and that of their students, so that yoga becomes a lifestyle lived, from moment to moment. Press link for more information
The connection of yogic philosophy and ancient Greek philosophy
True philosophy is not theorizing about abstract concepts and intellectual analysis. It combines the love of wisdom with the art of living a good and meaningful life. To do this, it is necessary to refine and manage the mind, and put this wisdom into action.
Another endeavor which has recently come to fruition, after many years, is a series of seminars by Swami Sivamurti on the connection between ancient Greek philosophy and Yogic philosophy bringing about a deeper understanding of these two great civilizations. Press link for more information
Hellenic Federation of Yoga
To further unite the Satyananda yoga community in Greece, the HYF -the Hellenic Federation of Yoga, was established in 2019, to unite those legal entities whose purpose is the practice or teaching of the Satyananda system of Yoga, or are associated with Satyananda yoga (such as Satyananda Math-Amba) for the purpose of officially representing the teaching and practice of Satyananda Yoga in Greece, wherever necessary.
In particular, the HYF aims to host seminars and talks on the impact of the Satyananda yoga practices on fertility, pre and post natal care and stress related conditions, in tertiary institutions
Friends of Satyananda Yoga
Recently established in 2019 invites people to join and give their support in the endeavour to spread Satyananda Yoga. Press link for more information
Activities at Satyanandashram Hellas and abroad
Swami Sivamurti Saraswati’s primary goal has been to communicate and spread the richness of the Satyananda Yoga tradition and for this purpose she has been travelling regularly and tirelessly since the early 80’s throughout Greece, the Balkans and other countries in the world giving seminars and lecturing on yoga, participating in conferences and festivals.
Throughout 2017, to celebrate the 40 years of Satyananda Yoga in Greece and Satyanandashram Hellas, Swami Sivamurti conducted a year- long Yatra in honour of her guru’s teachings and the invaluable legacy he had passed on to the Greek people.
Trips to the Bihar School of Yoga and Rikhia Peeth
From the late 70’s many group trips to Munger and later to Rikhiapeeth have been organised under the guidance of Swami Sivamurti to enable students to come closer to the tradition by visiting the source and having this precious experience of ashram life in the presence of the guru.
Inspirers’ visits to Greece
There comes a time, when one is able to stand aside and gaze with a profoundly grateful heart, at the beauty of those whose presence colors and shapes every moment of life. In two books the tale of how two very great men who sanctified the land of Greece with a cornucopia of gifts and graces, is told. One book describes the visits to Greece by Sri Swami Satyananda, our guru and the other the visits by his spiritual successor Swami Niranjanananda.
Swami Sivamurti Saraswati
Swami Sivamurti invited and welcomed Sri Swami Satyananda on his visits to Greece. Sri Swami Satyananda had visited Greece eight times, from 1978 to 1985 giving lectures in all the main cities of Greece; Athens, Salonica, Chania, Heraklion, Rethymno, and Agios Nikolaos in Crete, Alexandropolis, Kalamata, Katerini, Mytilene, Patra, Rhodes, Sparta, and Volos.
She also invited and welcomed Swami Niranjanananda on his four visits to Greece from 1979 to 2008 during which time he gave lectures and seminars on yoga and sannyasa.
We meet here, in the spirit of yoga and in the spirit of love. If you did not feel loved and you were not connected with yoga, you would not be here. It is this pure feeling I see in every one of you, which makes me feel humble.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
Swami Satyasangananda visited the ashram twice, once with Sri Swami Satyananda in 1985, and later in 2010 on the 25th anniversary of Satyanandashram Hellas.
When I entered here, I was absolutely amazed, the ashram was glowing. It was glowing with divine light. And there was the feeling of happiness, joy and bliss. Swamiji had called it the true bliss ashram, and one can easily see that the purpose, the spirit with which this place was born, has been kept alive in these 25 years. It is very easy to start something, but it is difficult to keep this spirit alive.
Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati