Most people think yoga is simply a form of exercise and/or a fitness routine to increase flexibility (or a legit excuse to wear the ever popular yoga pants). Swami Nirmanalanda Saraswati (also known as Rama Berch) showed us that yogic practice is so much more when she created the consciousness and healing-oriented Svaroopa program. Svaroopa translates to “the bliss of your own being,” and it aims to trigger the body’s natural healing capacity so we can maximize our physical function and potential.
Many also think Svaroopa is a very recent style of yoga because it only gained international mainstream recognition in 1996. Truth is, Rama Berch has been practicing and teaching the style since the 70’s. She also founded the Master Yoga Foundation, which is internationally recognized as the home of Svaroopa Yoga.
Who Can Do Svaroopa Yoga
Cliched as it may sound, “anyone can do yoga” DOES apply to the practice of Svaroopa yoga. This is because the focus is not so much on being able to bend and twist your body to perform the asanas – allowing anyone, regardless of age/ physical fitness/ flexibility, to properly practice it. Svaroopa is concerned with opening and releasing the spine, using 4 basic asanas (the Magic Four), starting from the tail bone and progressing to each spinal area.
Benefits of Svaroopa Yoga
The back, shoulders, and neck are key body parts where stress tends to physically manifest. Svaroopa yoga aims to release this tension through spinal decompression techniques, which combine traditional yoga philosophy, asana, and inner consciousness. Simply put, Svaroopa goes beyond the physical aspects of yoga (i.e. performing poses - asana) while simultaneously recognizing that it sets the background for both physical and spiritual healing, and holistic transformation.
What You Need to Know
Most Svaroopa classes last for 60-90 minutes and typically start with the Shavasana/Savasana or Corpse pose. Once primary relaxation and inner opening is achieved, yogis are taught Ujjayi Pranayama to tap into the body's natural pathways for healing. Students are encouraged to use accessories like blankets and blocks (especially when just starting out) to make sure the practice is relaxed and “blissful,” ultimately leading to ridding the body of obstructions that block the natural flow of energy along the spine.