Who Is Adiyogi?

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Adi (first) + Yogi (practitioner of yoga)

Adiyogi definition

Adiyogi refers to Lord Shiva, the Supreme Being who was the divine source of yoga and very first yogi.

It is thought that Adiyogi Shiva is the creator of all yogic wisdom, the origin of this source of knowledge that was first shared over 15,000 years ago.

Adiyogi deep dive

Becoming Adiyogi

As Sadhguru tells the story, Adiyogi Shiva transcended his body in both a practice of complete stillness and impassioned ecstatic dancing in the Himalayas. People came to watch Shiva, who did not care what anyone had to say or thought about him.

It seemed to all that he had freed himself from the limitations of society. On the day that Shiva was enlightened, he became Adiyogi.

statue of shiva

First sharing his teaching with his consort, the Goddess Parvati, he taught her 84 yoga asanas that are a part of the Vedic Parampara (the traditional lineage of teachers of Advaita Vedanta) in order to achieve Rajyoga (both the goal of yoga and method to attain it).

After some time, to ensure that his followers were ready, seven dedicated sages of Shiva were chosen to have his wisdom imparted to them. Each of these seven sages, or saptarishis, had a different aspect of yoga embedded in them.

They became the limbs of Shiva, spreading the message and technology across the globe.

Hindu myth describes how Matsya, a fish, overheard Adiyogi Shiva’s teachings to Parvati and attained enlightenment. The fish was reincarnated as Matsyendra, after which several asanas are named, and was one of these saptarishis.

As well as Adiyogi, Shiva is also known as Adi-Dev, the oldest God of Hindu mythology and considered the most supreme.

Along with Brahma (creator) and Vishnu (preserver), the three Gods make up the triumvirate. Shiva’s role, as the powerful destroyer in the triumvirate, is to destroy in order to re-create.

The Agama Shastras

The teachings of Adiyogi were spread to mankind through the Agama Shastras, a collection of texts that have survived to this day. Shaiva, Vaishnava, and Shakta, though not part of the Vedas, are thought to be completely authentic and follow the teachings of the Vedas.

Agama texts are in the form of dialogues in which Shiva, Vishnu, or Shakti talk about four topics (pādas).

1. Jñāna-pāda (divine wisdom regarding metaphysical and philosophical aspects of the universe)

2. Yoga-pāda (aspects of the yogic practice – asana, meditation, mantras, yantras, etc.)

3. Carya-pāda (morals and values – how we should live our lives in relation to others)

4. Kriya-pāda (action regarding our faith – temple building, rituals, offerings, etc.)

Adiyogi Shiva Statue

This 112 feet statue, located at the Isha Yoga Center in the foothills of Velliangiri, shows the yogi completely absorbed in continuous meditation, liberated from the physical body.

It represents the 112 chakras in the body or the 112 ways to attain Moksha (enlightenment or freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth).

adiyogi statue

In the Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra, a Sanskrit text of Shaivism, Parvati asks Shiva:

O Shiva, what is your reality?What is the wonder-filled universe?…What is the life beyond form pervading forms? How may we enter it fully, above space and time, names and descriptions?

He replies with 112 sutras, giving us the methods to attain liberation. These include ways that utilise:

  • The breath
  • Sounds
  • Meditation
  • The practice of looking
  • Ease
  • Light
  • Pausing
  • Moods
  • Desires
  • The body
  • Space/emptiness

Shiva as a God

As we have mentioned earlier Shiva’s role is that of the destructor, great ascetic, and yogi, but he also has other roles as a Hindu deity. Representing goodness, benevolence, and protection, he too serves as the master of fertility, the master of medicine, and the Lord of Cattle.

As a destroyer, he destroys the universe at the end of its cycle to allow for its regeneration and the birth of new creations. This is thought to happen every 2,160,000,000 years according to Hindu belief.

adiyogi in your life

Freeing your mind

Adiyogi is here to liberate you from disease, discomfort, and poverty – above all, from the very process of life and death


As the destroyer, requesting the help of Shiva can help with destroying the illusions and impurities that sit in the mind that prevent us from reaching enlightenment.

It is believed that he is easy to pray to, you do not necessarily need any special offerings. All you need to do is connect to Adiyogi through your heart and offer love.

His discipline and commitment to liberation are unmatched, Shiva is a strong God that will offer you love and support in times of need.

Whilst Shiva is a very important God in Hinduism, you do not necessarily have to be a committed Hindu to ask for his support. Adiyogi is about inner growth and evolution, ultimately, it’s about liberation or moksha!

statue of shiva

How can I ask for help from Adiyogi?

“When the world puts you in trouble, Shiva rescues you”

1. Dancing

Shiva is also known as Natarāja, Lord of the Dance. His dance is one of bliss, representing the chaos of the universe, his relationship with the cosmos, and creation and destruction.

Ecstatic dancing, free movement, and listening to your body can help you reconnect with Adiyogi’s grace, the chaotic yet beautiful rhythm of the universe.

You may even get a peak into the state of pure bliss that Adiyogi represents.

2. Mantras

There are many mantras that are exclusively dedicated to the worship of Shiva and the invitation of his qualities into your life.

They can be chanted at any time of the day, but it is thought that Shiva mantras are most powerful at sunrise and sunset.

I bow to Lord Shiva

  • ॐ नमो भगवते रूद्राय।Om Namo Bhagwate Rudraay

I bow down to Lord Rudraksha (one of the names of Shiva)

  • कर्पूरगौरं करुणावतारं – Karpur Gauram Karunavataram

One who is pure white like camphor, who is the embodiment of compassion, I bow to the Shiva, Parvati

3. Read the Shiv Purana or Shiv Gita

These are texts that will bring you closer to the teachings of Adiyogi and help you apply them to your own life.

The Shiv Gita is a dialogue between Lord Shiva and Shri Rama, and the Shiv Purana centers around Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

The connection we build with Adiyogi is a powerful reminder of the need for destruction and rebirth at all stages of our lives, to bring us closer to enlightenment.

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To go deep and expand your yogic knowledge, access our free Yoga Terms Encyclopedia, where we host a profound wealth of ancient and timeless yogic wisdom in an accessible modern format.

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Liz is a Qigong and Yoga teacher based in Gloucestershire with a love for all things movement, nature & community. She strives to create a trauma-informed space in which everyone is empowered to be their authentic selves. www.elizabethburns.co.uk

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