Swami Gitananda and Gitananda Yoga

Gitananda Yoga and its paramparaya (lineage)














Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj The yoga taught at Swami Gitananda’s ashram (Ananda Ashram) has been passed down from Guru (master) to Chela (student) for 1000’s of years. It is a system that works and runs very deep. Our practices are thorough and encompass all aspects of the self.

Every aspect of yoga is important but the beauty of it is that it follows a step by step approach towards Yoga that is also beautifully outlined in the correspondence course “Yoga step-by-step”. . It is a path that everyone can walk regardless of their circumstance.

Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri was a medical doctor. He combined his scientific background with the ancient techniques of classical Yoga that he studied in his youth with his Master, the Bengali saint Sri Swami Kanakananda. The result is what Swami Gitananda called “Rishi Culture Ashtanga Yoga” and is now known as “Gitananda Yoga”.

In 1972 Swami Gitananda established the Ananda Ashram (ICYER) in Pondicherry.and from 1968 until his Samadhi on 29 December 1993,

Swamiji offered a yearly six month Intensive Residential International Yoga Teachers Training Course. This annual course has been continued uninterrupted to this date. In this intensive 5 am to 9 pm daily schedule, students are instructed in classical Rishiculture Ashtanga (Gitananda) Yoga. During the course hundreds of Asanas, Kriyas, Mudras, Pranayama, Raja Yoga Practices, Kundalini techniques, higher meditative activities and yoga theory are studied in great depth.

The Yogamaharishi used to tell his students, ‘In six months I will give you enough material to occupy your Yoga Sadhana for not only one, but several lifetimes’. In addition to this busy teaching schedule, in which every single class was taught by the Yogamaharishi himself, he also edited from 1970, an international English monthly Yoga journal YOGA LIFE.

Both the course and the magazine continue to this date and are undertaken by YOGACHARINI Meenakshi Devi  Bhavanani and Yogachariya Dr Ananda Bhavanani, his wife and son. Swami Gitananda has a long list of achievements to his name, far too many to list here so to find out more about him; his life, his ashram, his teachings, awards, honors, titles, books, magazine, tours etc.

Please visit www.icyer.com to find out more.  


Meenakshi Devi BhavananiYogamani Kalaimamani Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani is Director and Resident Acharya of the world famous International Centre for Yoga Education and Research (ICYER / Ananda Ashram) at Pondicherry.

She is the Dharmapatni (life partner) and senior most disciple of the internationally acclaimed Yoga master, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj and has devoted her life to his teachings and to institutions founded by him.

As well as the life in Yoga she is also a journalist, an author and a professional Bharat Natyam Dancer.

A living siddha lovingly known as Ammaji, when she is not jetting up and down to Delhi for her duties on the government’s Council for Yoga, she can be found running Ananda Ashram and Yoganjali Natyalayam in Pondicherry, the cities centre for Yoga and the Cultural Indian Arts.

Again we can find an endless list of titles, awards, books, articles etc on the amazing work of this incredible woman – please visit www.icyer.com to find out more



Dr Ananda Balayogi BhavananiYogacharya Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani is the son and successor to Swami Gitananda and Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi.

He was born and grew up in the powerful energy of the Gurukula and although he is following in the footsteps of his parents he is clearly creating his own path.

Already at such a young age, he is a Medical Doctor, a Classical Carnatic Musician and a Bharat Natyam expert.

Ananda has written numerous books and dvd’s on yoga and has quite a few world tours under his belt. Being a medical doctor he has conducted many controlled yoga projects with patient groups and the results have been printed in various medical journals.

Like his parents, Ananda has prestigious awards and titles, is a member of  the Indian Government Yoga council and assists his mother with all the ashram and city centre activities.

Find out more about Ananda at www.icyer.com.  


Based on moral and ethical values (Yama and Niyama) Swami Gitananda taught:

  • Asanas (Body Postures)
  • Pranayamas (Breath Controls)
  • Kriyas (Controlled Movements of Mind or Body)
  • Mudras (Gestures) 

Taken to their full potential, the values and techniques Swami Gitananda taught can lead the student to the experience of Yoga (unity). Our general yoga classes are based around this system, however, there are opportunities to study other aspects of yoga and to go deeper if the interest and desire is there. These opportunities will be found on the website and on our facebook page. Keep a look out for our Foundation Course dates which we run three times a year and our yearly Teacher Training Course and Pregnancy Teacher Training. We also run at least two retreats yearly in the UK and often an India retreat to Swami Gitananda’s ashram. If you can’t find what you are looking for then please email or talk to Kalavathi.

Kalavathi has been established and offering yoga classes and courses since 2000.  She has been trading under the name YOGA WALES for this period and OM STUDIO since 2013. Kalavathi has been the main correspondent for the ashram in the UK since completing her studies.

Credit for the information on Swami Gitananda, Meenakshi Devi and Ananda Bhavanani goes to their website www.icyer.com