Widely recognized as a saint, Swami Vishnudevananda promoted a holistic evolution toward world peace through the teachings of philosophy and the practice of yoga. A disciple of the renown Indian saint, Swami Sivananda, he introduced yoga to the West more than 50 years ago. Many of the practices that he introduced when he first came to the United States, are now taught throughout the World in Ashrams, retreat centers, wellness centers, gyms, and fitness centers. Swami Vishnudevananda is the founder of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center which is one of the largest yoga organizations in the world with 11 ashrams, 31 Centers and 35 affiliated Centers. The ashrams are located in beautiful spots in places such as Canada, the Bahamas, California, Upstate New York, Europe, India and others. The city centers are located in almost every major city in the world including Los Angeles, Munich, Chicago, London, and Paris. Swami Vishnudevananda was also the first professor of Hatha yoga at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in India where he lived as a monk and close disciple of Swam Sivananda before travelling to the West in 1957.
The unique yoga teachings of Swami Vishnudevananda revolve around five basic pillars of positive thinking, meditation, breathing exercises, deep relaxation, a vegetarian diet, and physical postures or asanas. These five principles promote a harmonious lifestyle and serve as the basis for all courses and programs at Sivananda centers and ashrams worldwide. According to Swami Vishnudevananda, the five pillars are similar to an automobile. Proper exercise serve as the lubrication, breathing is the battery, relaxation is the radiator, and the fuel is a proper diet. Finally, meditation and positive thinking is the responsible driver behind the wheel.