Swami Janakananda was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1939.
As a child, he had already learned to use simple yoga poses. The effect that yoga gave him as an 8-year-old, laid the foundation for starting seriously with his yoga practice at age 19.
“My interest in yoga began in 1947, when I was 8 year old and a medical doctor taught me savasana in particular. The effect that yoga had had on me then, made me seek it again as a young man. Between 1959 and 1968, I used yoga in the daily training as a pantomime actor and in an intense personal sadhana.”
Swami Janakananda also became a master of pranayama, the breathing exercises of yoga.
When Swami Satyananda, came to Copenhagen in 1968, he was ready to receive an initiation in the more advanced aspects of yoga and meditation. He went to Swami Satyananda’s ashram in India. After an initial intensive training, he decided to stay - to live and work and continue his sadhana there.
In February 1969, his guru initiated him into Purna Sannyasa in the Dasanama Sannyasa Order of Saraswati. As a Swami, he received the name Janakananda Saraswati.
“After my initiation, I travelled around India for several months with Swamiji. He gave me tasks teaching yoga to the people that came to see him. During that tour, I realized that it would be meaningful to share my experience and knowledge of yoga with others, so I chose to become a yoga teacher.”
On his teacher’s request, Swami Janakananda returned to Denmark in the summer of 1970 in order to establish the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School.
The first school in Copenhagen grew quickly and branched out to other places.
Together with the teachers he has educated, he has strongly influenced the use of yoga and meditation in Northern Europe. The success is largely due to his and his colleagues’ regular use of meditation in daily life, particularly Kriya Yoga, a combination of advanced yoga and meditation practices, as well as taking an active outwardly directed life using Karma Yoga. This and his ability to limit himself creatively within a very rich tradition, namely the tantric yoga tradition.
Swami Janakananda lives in Sweden where, apart from teaching meditation, he collaborates with various scientists, researching the benefits of yoga and meditation. Over the years, many people have been inspired by his clear way of showing how yoga and even advanced yoga and meditation can be used as effective tools for everyday life today. What makes his teaching so special? He uses the situation here and now and the way you are - without demanding that something should be changed first.