Obituary: Swami Sarasvati

Swami Sarasvati, the yoga expert and instructor who pioneered yoga on Australian television, has died.

Her son, Sanjay, posted a tribute on Facebook last week:

I am writing to share the incredible legacy left by my mother, Swami Sarasvati, who passed away on Monday. While we mourn her loss, we are also filled with an immense gratitude for all that she achieved during her time with us.

A beloved Yogi, and one of the first to bring Yoga to Australia, she inspired and guided so many of us, and she will continue to live on through her students, her teachings, and the many lives she touched.

The positive seeds that my mother planted through her teachings have grown into a beautiful forest of strong and resilient Yoga trees, each one bearing the fruits of a healthy, balanced, and joyful life and are spreading their seeds too.

My mother had a unique talent for making Yoga simple and accessible to all. ‘So long as you can breathe, you can do Yoga.’ Further, her philosophy is that Yoga is not about the poses, but rather it is a way of life. Her teachings helped the lives of countless individuals, and we are forever grateful for the way she brought the transformative practice of Yoga into our lives.

While we will miss her deeply, we take comfort in the knowledge that her spirit will always be with us.

Coming to Australia in the late 1960s, and years before Australian television had embraced multicultural diversity, she made an appearance to demonstrate yoga on In Sydney Tonight in 1968.

From January 1969, her self-titled show began on Sydney’s TEN10 and later extended to other stations in the 0-10 Network. Swami Sarasvati continued through most of the 1970s before appearing on SBS nationally in the mid-1980s.

She established Swami’s Yoga Retreat in Kenthurst, north west of Sydney, in 1983 and which continues to operate today.

Source: Swami’s Yoga Retreat, TV Tonight. Sun-Herald, 26 January 1969. TV Week, 7 December 1968, 30 August 1969. TV Radio Guide, 9 October 1971.



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    • A roaming I will go on 2 April 2023 at 7:17 PM
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    RIP. When I was a child I used to watch her program and try out some of the poses. My mother had one or two of her books.

    • Pamela Murray on 3 April 2023 at 9:24 AM
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    I am so thankful for the many cherished moments I had with Swami at her retreat – trying to follow her poses, enjoying her delicious curries at mealtime, walks through the bush, meditating on “her rock”. Her sense of humour was infectious – she would have changed many lives for the better. Truly an amazing woman.

    • Judy Drayton on 9 April 2023 at 1:20 PM
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    My yoga teacher was taught by Swami Saraswati and my teacher’s classes are traditional and inspiring passing on the Swamis knowledge.

    • Andrew M on 12 April 2023 at 5:08 PM
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    she was the queen of australian yoga RIP

    • Zappy on 28 April 2023 at 3:23 AM
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    Thats a shame. Used to watch it on ATV 0 in the 60s. I wondered even then who else was watching this exotic woman twisting herself into a pretzel.

    • Kim Dove on 19 May 2023 at 6:40 PM
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    I was thinking about Swami S, and this came up when I enquired if she was still active at the retreat. I did my initial training with her in the eighties and then with Satyananda Ashram.
    She was a wonderful teacher. I remember Sanjay as a little boy, and her husband who worked the farm behind the scenes.
    I still teach yoga. She is right, while you can still breathe, you can practice yoga.
    Om Shanti
    Hari Aum tat sat.
    Poornajyoti ( Kim Dove)

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