The spiritual lineage of Ananda Kutir begins with the 20th Century Saint H.H. Sri Swami Sivananda Maharaj (1887-1963), who significantly contributed to the world-wide dissemination of Yoga and Vedanta by teaching Integral Yoga. Swami Sivananda wrote approximately 300 volumes on all aspects of Yoga, Vedanta, Religion and Spirituality. He was one of the first Yogis to spread the teachings of Yoga to the West through his writings and disciples. Swami Sivananda guided many seekers from all walks of life, helping each one to fulfil their spiritual goals according to their cultural, religious and personal background.

One of Swami Sivananda’s foremost disciples, Sri Swami Venkatesananda (1921-1982), also wrote a number of books and gave innumerable lectures and demonstrations on Yoga and Vedanta whilst travelling the world for twenty years.

Swami Venkatesanada regularly visited South Africa and it was through
his inspiration and guidance that Mother Yogeshwari and Swami
Parvathiananda, together with an inspired and dedicated group of friends
and committee members, established Ananda Kutir Ashrama formally in

Read more about the History of the Ashram.

Founder of Divine Life Society


Swami Sivananda was a flourishing doctor in Malaya during the 1920’s, and he renounced this in the pursuit of the realisation of the Self. Irrepressible was Swami Sivananda’s love of selfless service. A man of awe-inspiring austerities, yet he had an extremely soft heart that melted at human suffering. He set an example in indiscriminate charity and proved that it invited wealth, peace and happiness. Swami Sivananda lived for the good and for the spiritual uplift of mankind, and is the author of over 300 books.

Taken from the writings of Swami Venkatesananda. Read more about Swami Sivananda.  Read more about Divine Life Society's Headquarter’s. 

Patron Saint of Ananda Kutir Ashrama


Swami Venkatesananda was one of the foremost disciples of Swami Sivananda. He became a renunciate in the year 1945 when he resigned the excellent job he was holding. He came with the specific intention of placing himself entirely at the service of Swami Sivananda's Universal Spiritual Mission, with intense devotion, utter dedication and unparalleled spirit of service. He soon made himself indispensable to worshipful Swami Sivananda, especially in his global spiritual dissemination work. From early 1945 up to the time when he breathed his last, his entire life was whole-souled absorption in the sublime good work of Swami Sivananda.

Read more about Swami Venkatesananda and you can visit this website.

Secretary General


Mother Yogeshwari started her journey of Integral Yoga when she met her Guru Sri Swami Venkatesananda in the year 1964. Through a spiritually close Guru-discipleship she learnt to practice the art of integral yoga.

Under the guidance and encouragement of her Guru, Mother Yogeshwari established a Yoga Centre in Cape Town in the year 1968 which blossomed into an ashram in the year 1982 and she has been sharing her wisdom and love with all who come into contact with her.

Click here to read Tributes to Mother Yogeshwari



Swami Parvathiananda met her Guru Sri Swami Venkatesananda in the year 1971, and settled in Cape Town in 1978 in accord with the suggestion of Swami Venkatesananda.  During the next few years she joined Mother Yogeshwari and together they started Ananda Kutir Ashram in 1982.

Swami Parvathiananda also trained under Sri TKV Desikachar, founder of the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, and has been responsible for compiling and organising many courses and continues to share her knowledge of Integral Yoga.


Swami Vidyananda joined the Ashram in the year 1999.  At the request of Mother Yogeshwari and Swami Parvathiananda he was requested to teach. Since then, he continues to give discourses, runs a variety of courses and workshops and organises retreats. He is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Ashram.