The Lineage of Ashram Yoga
Ashram Yoga has its roots strongly engaged in the yoga/tantra lineage of the Dasnami Sampradaya order of sannyas (sannyas or sannyasin means an initiate who has renounced attachment to delusion). The Dasnami order was originally founded by Adi Shankaracharya who was an Indian saint (considered to be an incarnation of Lord Siva Himself, in fact!) who lived in the 8th century. Dasnami or Dashnami Sampradaya means ‘tradition of 10 names’ which are: Giri, Puri, Bharti, Ban, Aranya, Sagar, Aashram, Tirtha, Parvat and Saraswati. All of these groups, or sannyas families, are connected with the four geographical and spiritual ‘corners’ of India. Each of these 10 names are like surnames given to sannyasins of each family. For example, the great Swami Yogananda, author of Autobiography of Yogihas the family name of Giri, so his full name is Swami Yogananda Giri.
Our lineage is Saraswati, which came from the North Western corner of India where the Sarasvati (or Saraswati) River flows as a trans-boundary river in India and Pakistan. The Saraswati River is said to flow in the underworld, only rising to the surface in some places. The confluence (sangam) of India’s three most sacred rivers - the Saraswati, Ganga, and Yamuna - is at Triveni Sangam, Allahabad (India).
The Goddess Saraswati, Herself, was originally closely identified with the Saraswati River. However, She has subsequently been sanctified as manifest in Her own right. Saraswati is the Goddess of wisdom and music. There are many branches of the Saraswati Order of Sannyas. Ashram Yoga sannyasins are spiritually related to all of them and have learned from many of them. Our most direct lineage is via the great Paramahansa Sivananda of Rishikesh and his sannyasin disciples. All Ashram Yoga teachers and/or sannyasins have learned from yoga/tantra adepts from this lineage.
Ashram Yoga imbibes the traditional yoga/tantra teachings of the lineage through its teachers and teachings. However, beyond the person, Gurus and teachers of the lineage (who can come with diverse personalities and expressions), Ashram Yoga holds strongly to the teachings themselves. These teachings have been in existence for thousands of years and handed down through the ages via an oral tradition of teaching, transmission and diksha (initiation). It is the teachings themselves that are the guiding lights for Ashram Yoga, which is why the foundation of what is taught is strongly established in the classical yoga/tantra practices and disciplines.