Born in Kerala, South India in 1927, Swami Vishnudevananda entered the Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh in the Himalayas as a young man. For twelve years he live and worked there at the Divine Life Society, under the guidance of his master, Swami Sivananda. A large part of Swami Vishnudevanandaês training was directed towards developing his remarkable talents in the field of Hatha Yoga. He was appointed the first Professor of Hatha Yoga at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in Rishikesh.
At the same time, he continued his own practice, mastering many difficult and advanced Hatha Yoga techniques: asanas pranayama, mudras, bandhas and kriyas. When asked how he perfected these ancient practices, which to a great extent had been lost to the modern world, Swamiji would say –My Master touched me and opened my intuitive eye. All this knowledge returned to me from past lives.”
In 1957, Swami Vishnudevananda was sent to the West by his guru with the words, –people are waiting”. Here he became world-renowned as an expert in Hatha and Raja Yoga. Swamiji founded the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, with headquarters in Val Morin, Quebec, Canada and centres and ashrams worldwide.
Swami Vishnudevananda was a tireless campaigner for world peace. He piloted his own plane to the trouble spots of the globe, earning him the nickname from the press of the –Flying Swami”. He had indefatigable energy, which he attributed to his intensive Hatha Yoga practice.
The author of the long-time bestselling The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga and Meditation and Mantras, Swami Vishnudevananda is the inspiration behind The Sivananda Companion to Yoga, Yoga, Mind and Body, the Sivananda Companion to Meditation, The Yoga Cookbook and many other books.
Swami Vishnudevananda entered mahasamadhi on November 9, 1993. His body was consigned to the Ganga (the river Ganges) in Uttarkashi, Himalayas. This is where Swamiji has spent much time early in his life doing intensive sadhana. The work and teachings of Swami Vishnudevananda continue through the Inter national Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre.