About Us

Welcome to the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Chicago

The Center

The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center has been in continuous operation at its present location on West Bryn Mawr Avenue in Chicago since 1972. It is part of a worldwide organization founded by Swami Vishnudevananda: the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. A renowned authority on Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga, Swami Vishnudevananda was sent to the West by his Master, Swami Sivananda, to spread the ideals of Yoga and Vedanta with the words "people are waiting."

The Founders

Swami Sivananda (1887-1963)

The spiritual strength behind the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres, Swami Sivananda taught a synthesis of all the formal doctrines of Yoga. He trained many exceptional disciples in Yoga and Vedanta, among them, Swami Vishnudevananda, whom he sent to spread the practice of Yoga in the West.

Swami Vishnudevananda (1927-1993)

Disciple of Swami Sivananda, founder of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres and world-renowned authority on Hatha and Raja Yoga and author of the bestselling Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga and other books.

The Teachings: Five Points of Yoga

By closely observing the lifestyles and needs of people in the West, Swami Vishnudevananda synthesized the ancient wisdom of Yoga into five basic principles that can easily be incorporated into our own lifestyles to provide the foundation for healthy living. It is around these five principles that the activities at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center are based.

Proper Exercise (Asanas) acts as a lubricating routine for the joints and muscles and other parts of the body by increasing circulation and flexibility. The asanas not only produce physical benefits but also are mental exercises in concentration and meditation, promoting optimum good health.

Proper Breathing (Pranayama) connects the body to the solar plexus, where tremendous potential energy is stored. Through specific breathing techniques, this energy is released for physical and mental rejuvenation.

Proper Relaxation (Savasan) is a vital part of keeping the body and mind healthy. Yoga teaches three levels of relaxation: physical, mental, and spiritual.

Proper Diet (Vegetarian) is eating with awareness. A yogi takes food that has the most positive effect on the body and mind and the least negative effect on the environment.

Positive Thinking and Meditation (Vedanta and Dhyana) relieves stress and replenishes energy. Meditation is well known to improve concentration and to bring peace of mind and spiritual strength. Meditation is beneficial for everyone, especially those with hectic, stressful lives.

Center Aims and Activities

The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center is a non-profit organization run by voluntary staff and dedicated to the aim of disseminating the knowledge of Yoga. Activities at the center include the following:

  •     Daily drop-in Yoga classes

  •     Meditative Yoga class

  •     Beginners' Yoga courses (Part 1, Part 2)

  •     Meditation and Yoga philosophy courses

  •     Satsang (Free): group meditation, chanting, and talk on the philosophy of Yoga.

  •     Special programs with guest speakers

  •     Cooking workshops

  •     Yoga bookstore

Voluntary Service (Karma Yoga)

The activities of all the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres take place through the practice of Karma Yoga (voluntary service). The students of the Chicago Center have always generously given their energies to many projects and activities. Share your talents and skills, or learn new ones, by volunteering at the Center. Please call and talk to a staff member if you can offer some of your time to help.


The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center is a non-profit organization. Donations of all kinds are greatly appreciated. Donations are tax-deductible and used to continue the teachings of Yoga and Vedanta.