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What is Sanatan Yoga?

Sanatan Yoga means the Eternal truth or Divine Union-Yoga that existed before creation, during existence and that will still exist after all matter has ceased to exist.

"Sanatan" is a Sanskrit word, which denotes the eternal or universal laws, and duties we need to follow in our life to attain union with absolute or Divine Consciousness. Literally, Sanatan means that which is Anadi (beginning less), Ananta (endless) and does not cease to be, that which is eternal and everlasting.

Yoga comes from Sanatan Dharma, which in modern times is known as Hinduism. Dharma means duties that we all need to follow in our life to attain our true potential. Yoga helps us to build our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness to be able to follow these eternal and ethical virtues in our day-to-day life.

The word Yoga comes from Sanskrita root ‘yuj’ means ‘joining or, adding’. Yoga is union of individual Self with Higher Self. Yogachariya Jnandev and Yogacharini Deepika primarily follow Gitananda Yoga based on ancient authentic teachings of various paths of yoga (like Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Pranayama Yoga, Vyayama Yoga) and Sanatan Dharma.

Sanatan Yoga is based on an approach of Complete Personality Development (Body, Mind, Soul) based on the ancient teachings of Yoga (Hatha, Jnana and Raja Yoga). Our teachings are strongly influenced by the Gitananda Yoga Tradition where we the founders Jnandev and Deepika have trained extensively in this holistic approach to Yoga.

Swami Gitananda Giri:

What are the Key Scriptures we follow in Sanatan Yoga Teachings?

Many yoga scriptures are detailing various paths or aspects of Yoga. Even though now Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Hatha Yoga Pradipika are seen as main or key yoga scriptures, but in reality, if you like to study and practice yoga as complete holistic path then, we need to look into many other scriptures.

In Sanatan Yoga we use the following scriptures as a basis of our teachings:

1. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

2. Bhagavat Gita- A Dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna

3. Shiva Samhita- a dialogue between Shiva and his wife Shakti on Yoga

4. Hatha Yoga Pradipika- Detailing Hatha Yoga practices to prepare for Raja Yoga.

5. Gheranda Samhita- Also details Hatha Yoga Practices.

6. Yoga Vasishtha- dialogues between Lord Rama and his Guru Vasishtha.

7. Shiva Swarodaya- the conversation between Lord Shiva and his wife Shakti on the yoga of breath and naris.

8. Yoga Upanishada

9. Vijnana Bhairava Tantra

10. Yoga Chudamani

11. Swami Gitananda’s Yoga Step by Step

12. Yajnavalkya Samhita

1.Yoga Sutras

Yoga is mentioned in many Hindu and Vedic scriptures such as the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, etc. However, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is entirely dedicated work on yoga philosophy, each of its limbs (or 8-steps), practices, obstacles, etc. The Yoga Sutras are a guide map for every human being to reach higher states of mind.

Patanjali compiled and connected many concepts, ideas, practices and principals of yoga as a guide map for Self or Purusha (individual soul) to free itself from worldly mental bondage by attaining Self-realisation or Union with Parmatman (higher self or divine self).

Patanjali is thought to have lived between 200BC to 2000BC. Patanjali was a great Yogi, attained liberation through following the disciplined path of Yoga.

The Sutra means a thread or verse. The Yoga Sutras are verses or threads of wisdom. These Yoga Sutras were written in a complex coded Sanskrita language and to explore and understand them one needs to experience each one of them through Sadhana (devoted practice). There are four chapters in the Yoga Sutras containing 196 Sutras. The sutras are divided into four chapters, or padas titled: samadhi, sadhana, vibhuti, and kaivalya:

Samadhi Pada- The first chapter containing 51 verses is about Samadhi or enlightenment, focusing on states of mind, types of Samahi, obstacles and tools like abhyasa (practice), and vairajna (detachment).

Sadhana Pada-The second chapter details Sadhana or practice in form of eight limbs, karma yoga, kriya yoga and ashtanga yoga. It details first six limbs from Yama to Dharana in detail.

Vibhuti Pada-The third chapter is about the siddhis, fruits, power, and manifestation once mastery in practices is achieved. In 56 verses in this chapter Patanjali explains last two limbs- Dhyana and Samadhi and all the siddhis one attains as milestones on this yogic path. Patanjali advises that Siddhis are just the fruits on path and not the goal itself.

Kaivalya Pada- The last chapter is about enlightenment, liberation, or moksha. The 34 sutras detail on liberation and the higher states of mind.

2. The Bhagavada Gita:

The Bhagavad Gita, often known as ‘Gita’ is one of the key Hindu and Yoga scriptures in a poetic form also known as “Song of the Lord,” it is one part of the Mahabharata, which is an ancient Indian epic.

At the beginning of the epic war between Pandavas and Kauravas, Arjuna the greatest warrior and head of the Pandava army, refuses to fight against his relatives and family members. This is the moment Lord Krishna counsels and teaches Arjuna what is right for him to do as his dharma or duty.

In the 18 chapters of Gita, there are 700 verses written in a poetic form. These are dialogues between Arjuna and Krishna. Krishna represents the Divine or Supreme Soul (Paramatma), and Arjuna represents the individual soul (Purusha), and the battle represents the ethical and moral struggles of human mind and life.

The Gita details all the psychological tools for the body and mind, including all four paths of yoga, of which karma yoga is the most important of all in the form of selfless service or performing all the actions devoted to the divine cause.

3. Shiva Samhita

The Shiva Samhita is the oldest Hatha Yoga Scripture. This scripture is teaching or Lord Shiva to his wife, Paravati or Shakti (both incarnations of the same deity). This is a complete text on hatha yoga mentioning 84 classical postures, even though it only gives details on four asanas. It describes five types of Prana (prana, apana, samana, udana, vyana),and also includes Tantra, Mudra and Meditation techniques as well as yoga philosophy. There was no actual evidence of dates as to when this scripture was written.

4. Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is one of the most detailed works on Hatha Yoga by Svatmarama Suri. Hatha means forceful, vigorous, zeal, endeavour, steadfast approach to attain the goal of Yoga as Meditation and Samadhi. This literature provides a scientific and experienced approach to Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandhas and Dharana practices by many Yogis and masters in Hatha Yoga lineage or system.

When the Goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva, enquired to Lord Shiva how to attain Jnana or Knowledge and experience it for herself to be free from suffering and mental whirlpools, she asked how human beings can be free of their physical, psychological and emotional distress. Then Lord Shiva taught her Hatha Yoga science for the holistic development of self.

Parvati passed this knowledge to Brahma (the Deity of creation), who gave this knowledge to many sages like Narada, Sanka, and Sanatkumara. This Vidya (knowledge) was later in 12th to -15th century was written down as Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Actual reference of teachings goes way far back as even Svatmarama mentions a list of Gurus in his lineage the knowledge was passed down to him.

5. Gheranda Samhita

"Gheranda Samhita," or "Gheranda Collection," is one of three important texts on classic Hatha yoga, along with the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" and the "Shiva Samhita." It was written in Sanskrit in the late 17th century and is sometimes considered to be the most comprehensive of the three texts as it provides a detailed manual for yoga.

The yoga text has seven chapters dealing with various limbs of yoga. These seven chapters of "Gheranda Samhita" follow the sevenfold path of yoga, which was taught by the sage Rishi Gheranda to his student, Chanda Kapila. These limbs include- Shatkarmas, Asana, Mudra, Pratyahara, Pranayama, Dhyana and Samadhi.

6. The Yoga Vashistha

The Yoga Vasishtha is counselling dialogue between Lord Rama in his youth and his Guru Vasishtha. Valmiki between 6th and 14th century wrote it. It contains 19,000 verses. This is written in the form of inspiring stories and fables of great Sages, Rishis (yoga masters) and Yogis who attained Liberation through various paths of Yoga.

7. Shiva Swarodaya

This scripture is for advance yoga seekers. It is a dialogue between Lord Shiva and his wife, Parvati. This knowledge has been passed down verbally through the Guru-Shishya tradition and was at some point (exact dates unknown as with many of these ancient scriptures) put into written form. This scripture details the Swaras or nostrils and the breath and their associations with the five elements, states of mind and how to transform our body, mind and life through manipulating and changing our Swaras or nostrils and Breath. It associates right nostril with Pingala and left with the Ida Nari while Sushumna with both nostrils together.

8. Yoga Upanishads

These are the commentaries or simplified versions of Vedic teachings for ‘everyone’ who may not be Monks for example on the Vedas covering or explaining various aspects of Yoga such as the chakras, hatha yoga, yogic lifestyle and other aspects of Yoga.

9. Vijnana Bhairava Tantra

The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra is classical Tantra Yoga text. Here, the Guru is the teacher is Lord Shiva, and Shakti or Parvati is Shishya or student who also happens to be his wife. According to many scholars, its written around 7th century AD. Vijnana means knowledge, which comes directly from experience and Bhairava means Supreme Reality or Divine. It is in the form of the dialogue between Shiva and Parvati. She explains her doubts and desires to know how to attain union of Individual Self with the Higher Self. The term Shiva is used for Higher and Shakti for Individual Self.

Lord Shiva explains how we are under the influence of Maya (illusion) and duality due to ego and mental bondages.

10.Yoga Chudamani

The Yoga Chudamani Upanishad commentary on the Sama Veda. It means the “Crown Jewel of Yoga”. It has 121 verses. As it says in the name, it is for Yoga Sadhakas seeking liberation and Samadhi through yoga practice and purification of the mind. Yoga Chudamani explains that a Yogi should use every breath as Pranayama with their mind focussed on the Hamsa Mantra. Unconsciously we are chanting this mantra with every in and out breath, meaning “I am Super-Consciousness”. This chanting is known as Ajapa Japa. If we focus on this breathing and mantra, it will awaken our Kundalini. This yoga can be practised by using body, mind, breath and subtle life forces - prana. This is the process of self- enquiry to realise Self and Higher Self.

11. Yoga Step by Step by Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giriji

This course is a comprehensive, in-depth Yoga training in Classical Yoga through the written word now available. The Yoga: Step-By-Step Correspondence Course study is one of the requirements for those desiring to participate in the Six Month International Yoga Teacher’s Training Course held each year at ICYER, Tamil Nadu, India from October 2 through March 25th. Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda developed this course in 1971, using his background in medicine and his owns Gurus teaching’s Swami Kanakanada, he designed fifty-two weekly lessons, which are well illustrated with photographs and line drawings. It contains a practical, systematic step-by-step instruction in the integral practice of Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga. This course allows you a regular correspondence with the renowned Yoga Master and Guide Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani. This course manual is one of the most detailed yoga courses, detailing all aspects of yoga including: Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Dhyana Yoga, Pranayama Yoga, Yoga life style, in-depth human-psycho-physiology and diet.

12. Yajnavalkya Samhita

Another classical text on Hatha Yoga. The Yoga `Yajnavalikya Samhita is a dialogue between the great sage Yajnavalkya and his learned wife, Gargi. Considered as one of the most learned women of all times, Gargi asks him about how to reach the highest state of consciousness or Samadhi. Yajnavalkya teaches a systematic path of Hatha Yoga to her in twelve chapters in this text.

What Do We Teach and Practice in Sanatan Yoga:

Jattis- These are also known as Sukshma Vyayama or subtle therapeutic exercises. These are unstructured, conscious movements like shaking, bouncing, circling, rotating, movements of limbs, joints and body parts.

Kriyas- These are more structured movements of body with conscious breath as you flow from one position to another.

Yoga Vyayama- While Kriyas are very subtle, gentle and relaxing movements, Yoga Vyayamas are more vigorous or stronger forms of Kriyas where it also becomes a physical, mental, emotional or energy workout.

Suriya Namaskars- In traditional Yoga there are many variations to offer our greetings and gratitude to Sun or Suriya.

Hatha Yoga Kriyas-These are set of movements from an asana to asana (posture to posture) with conscious breathing and focus on energy flows, physical points or chakras (subtle energy points). These in general include classical Hatha Yoga Postures (according to scriptures there 84 classical postures).

Asanas- Asana as described by Patanjali is “a comfortable and stable seat or posture” to be held for a long time focussing the mind on various body points, chakras, energy flows, or generally known as advance or higher practices of Yoga.

Mudras-Mudras are body-mind-energy gestures to tune into the universal cosmic prana and channel it inward towards various chakras, naris (also known as Nadis – energy channels), consciousness and body parts.

Pranayamas-Pranayamas are techniques using breath as a tool to enhance Prana, the cosmic universal energy to refine, and vitalise our body, mind and energy.

Jnana Yoga Kriyas- Jnana Yoga Kriyas are Pratyahara or relaxation techniques. These relaxation techniques are to either enhance the energy subtle flows and to reverse the flows, so these energies can flow back to the point of their origin, which leads us to better health and well-being.

Dharna or Meditation Techniques- These are classical concentration techniques to focus our mind, leading to Dhyana or meditation.

Ashtanga Yoga- This is based on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Ashtanga Yoga has eight limbs or steps of yoga leading individual self to attain union with the higher self.

Yoga Philosophy- Yoga philosophy, provides us all the tools to enhance our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, leading us to higher states of consciousness and joyfulness. We use the key scriptures listed earlier as a basis.

Yoga Anatomy and Physiology- We study general anatomy and physiology, along with yoga-anatomy including pancha-kosha, naris and chakra system, adhi-vyadhi (psycho-somatic), spanda-nispanda (homeostasis, stretch-relax), etc concepts.

Jnana Yoga- This is Yoga of wisdom to improve our life-style, attitude and thought process so as to live our life with health and happiness.

Kundalini Yoga- This aspect of Yoga includes practices for awakening our kundalini or chakras to enhance of our life forces.

Tantra Yoga-This is another aspect of Yoga, working on our chakras and subtle energy flows by means of postures, pranayama, mudras, concentration techniques, mandala dharanas (gazing techniques)leading to higher states of consciousness.

Mantra Yoga- In this aspect of Yoga we use various mantras as tools for our mind, and their vibrations and meanings to tune into higher or cosmic energies and free ourselves from material attachment. Usually a Sanskrit mantra is chanted repetitively.

Bhakti Yoga- This is Yoga of devotion. We learn to let go our attachment with fruits and desires and offer every action or act to the Divine cause.

Dhyana Yoga- This is Yoga of meditation where we use some mental or energy transcending practices to experience higher states of mind, which free us from all the pain and sufferings.

Raja Yoga-This is the highest form yoga, based on Samkhya Yoga, and Yoga Sutras, Bhagavat Gita. This path of yoga is integrated, and all paths of yoga are included with the highest aim to attain self-realisation or Samadhi.

What do we typically teach in a Regular public class?

· Quiet Sitting

· Jattis

· Kriyas

· Hatha Yoga Kriyas

· Suriya Namaskars

· Asanas, Mudra and Pranayama

· Jnana Yoga Kriyas or Yoga Nidra during relaxation

Sanatan Teacher Levels:

· Sanatan Yoga Teachers- Level 1(200 hrs or 300hrs Yoga Teacher Training completed with us)

· Sanatan Yoga Teachers - Level 2(500 hrs. certificate)

NB: after this training it is possible to represent and led our 6-month foundation course if we feel you are ready.

· Senior Sanatan Yoga Teacher - Level 3 (1000 hrs. additional certificate)

NB: These teachers can jointly lead 200hrs YTT programs and CPDs with us

· Sanatan Yoga Teacher - Level 4: Yogasadhaka (for males) or Yogasadhaki (for females) title.(1000hrs training plus 5000 hours experience of teaching on their own as well as and assisting Deepika and Jnandev on the YTT programs)

NB: These teachers can run 200hrs YTTs and other CPDs representing Sanatan Yoga on their own, using our recourses.

About Yogachariya Yogachemmal Jnandev Giri and Yogacharini Yogachemmal Deepika Giri:

Jnandev and Deepika founded Yoga Satsanga Ashram, Wales, UK in 2009. They trained together in 2006 at the International Yoga Centre for Education and Research (ICYER), Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, S India. In 2018 we founded ‘Sanatan Yoga’ as a name for the style of yoga that we teach.

Yogachariya Jnandev Giri (Surender Saini) Director and founder of Yoga Satsanga Ashram – Msc Yoga and Meditation (Gold medalist) Jain Vishnu Bharat University, Rajasthan (2002) YTT Richiculture Ashtanga Yoga, Ananda Ashram, Tamil Nadu, S. India (2006).

Yogachariya Jnandev is from India and also completed Msc in Yoga and meditation and was awarded the gold medal for being the top student of the university – Jain Vishnu Bharat, Rajasthan. In addition to this Jnandev has lived amongst Saddhus and Yogis in India prior to coming to the UK. His knowledge and experience of the ancient system of Yoga is rarely found, particularly in the west. Gratefully received Yogachemmal title from ICYER 2017.

Yogacharini Deepika (Sally Saini) Director of Yoga Satsang Ashram - YTT Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga, Ananda Ashram, S India (2006). Gained Advanced Teacher Diploma 3000 hours in 2017. Deepika is the 3rdsenior student of ICYER in the UK to receive this award and since then travels back to ICYER yearly to teach a part of the 6-month YTT course at Ananda Ashram. Deepika gratefully received the title Yogachemmal from ICYER in 2018.

Both Jnandev and Deepika are registered as Senior Yoga Teachers with Yoga alliance Professionals and registered at Yoga Elders with the Independent Yoga Network (IYN). Yoga Satsanga Ashram is also a British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) accredited Group. Deepika and Jnandev are also some of the few worldwide teachers who have permission to facilitate the step by step Yoga course written by Swami Gitananda Giri on behalf of ICYER.

Our Publications:

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Yogachariya Jnandev, published by Yoga Satsanga Ashram 2019

Yoga – Questions and Answers by Yogachariya Jnandev, published by Yoga

Satsanga Ashram 2018

Exploring yoga Philosophy by Yogachariya Jnandev, published by Yoga

Satsanga Ashram 2017

Classical Hatha Yoga by Yogachariya Jnandev, published by Yoga

Satsanga Ashram 2016

Yoga for Skilful Living by Yogachariya Jnandev, published by Yoga

Satsanga Ashram 2014

Vegetarian and Vegan Indian recipesby Yogachariya Jnandev,

Published by Yoga Satsanga ashram 2013

The Way of Yoga bySaini, Surender Kumar, 2009. Published by Yoga Satsanga Ashram, an introduction for students.

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Amal Jayaranga
Amal Jayaranga
Aug 31, 2022

Dear Jnandev and Deepika,

I also started yoga after reading the content on your website, Now I am a beginner in transcendental meditation too. Thanks for your valuable knowledge. 🙂


Dear Jnandev and Deepika.

Thank you so much for this piece. The COVID difficulties have changed so much of what we thought was normal, and given us time to pause, consider what matters most. Debbie and I are really looking forward to doing the course with you, but current uncertainties around timescales has made us practice getting yogic and ‘let to’ of when it will happen. It will, when the time is right. Your writing has given us an sort of anchor for the future rather than the past, and helps remind us of how much we are committed to our time with you. In the meantime, we are both practicing as much as we can.

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