FREE YOGA: Centre de Yoga Sivananda de Paris Hosts Portes Ouvertes
A yoga center continues its tradition of FREE yoga classes for new and experienced yoga students
A long time ago, Sivananda was the only place to buy a yoga mat in Paris. Studios with little retail corners didn’t exist, nor did yoga-adjacent businesses like boutiques or wellness spas. If you wanted to practice on a yoga mat, you either had to have already bought one (purchased, most likely, in the UK or the US or Australia) or go to Sivananda in the 10e.
You’d show up at Centre de Yoga Sivananda de Paris, remove your shoes, walk up to the desk and ask to buy a mat. The person behind the counter would then step aside to reveal a gigantic circular bolt of sticky yoga mat material that he or she would cut to your preferred size using enormous shears. I remember the roll being dark blue, and being asked what size I wanted “Uh… standard yoga mat length?” Unrolling it at Samasthiti Studio, a dark blue mat among at least 10 other dark blue mats, I laughed to myself. We were indeed one 🔵
While you can find yoga mats practically everywhere in Paris now, and in nearly unlimited colors and thicknesses, the one thing that remains unchanged is Sivananda’s commitment to offering FREE classes on the regular. Their Journée Portes Ouvertes take place throughout the year and are open to everyone regardless of experience level.
FIRST OF ALL: WHAT IS SIVANANDA YOGA?
Sivananda Yoga is a yoga school founded by Vishnudevananda Saraswati* in 1959. Vishnudevananda named the yoga system to honor his own guru, Sivananda Saraswati, as a way to spread Sivananda’s message of yoga and world peace.
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How do you achieve world peace through yoga? By following Sivananda’s five principles:
Diet and positive thinking (Vedanta)
These pillars in some shape or another are the foundation of other yoga traditions such as Integral Yoga (founded by Swami Satchidananda) and Bihar School (founded by Swami Satyananda Saraswati) which is why, even if you don’t have experience with Sivananda Yoga, you are probably familiar with its philosophy, and the structure and form of its classes.
In keeping with this all-encompassing view of yoga and lifestyle, Sivananda’s Portes Ouvertes/Open House day includes a bit of every ingredient: yoga, meditation, postural demonstrations, chanting, presentations and talks.
MAY 20, 2023: SIVANANDA FREE YOGA DAY SCHEDULE
👉 13h30-16h Intro to yoga, demonstration of poses, yoga class
👉 16h15 Intro to meditation
👉 17h15 Presentation on Sivananda’s yoga retreats and Teacher Training programs
👉 18h Meditation, chanting and talk
Reservations are not required. Wear comfortable clothes (there are changing rooms), bring your own yoga mat 😂 or a big towel. Do not eat two hours prior to class.
NOTE: During this Open House, Sivananda will be offering 10% off classes and retreats.
A WORD ABOUT GURUS
*Vishnudevananda was an unholy, hypocritical human being as this BBC podcast, “Guru: Living a Lie” makes clear. His verbal, emotional and sexual abuse of Julie Salter and others is deeply upsetting and should make you think twice about diminishing your agency and handing your power to a guru (male or female). Is it possible to separate the teachings from the teacher? Are we complicit in the gurus’ crimes when we sign up for a yoga class and give our money to organizations like Sivananda, Integral, Bihar, Jivamukti, Ashtanga, Anusara…? Is there a way to transform participation into reparation? We have more questions than answers, and feel that the more we talk about these issues as a community, the better.