Axel is a Disciple of Swami Sivananda
(Founder of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India)
In the late 1960's, Axel was one of a handful of people teaching yoga in Toronto. Fifty years later, he is still going strong.
Always an athlete, Axel stopped to watch an incredibly fit man in his fifties practicing yoga in a park at Spadina and St. Clair. After introducing himself, Axel chatted with Charles Kastely, who referred him to a lecture by Swami Vishnudevananda. After the lecture, Axel met teachers Helene and Franz Achatz who had opened the first yoga studio in Toronto and began four years of study with them. Rather than creating his own studio, Axel chose to bring classical yoga teachings and practice to various communities throughout the GTA. Teaching yoga has been Axel's full-time career ever since and he has taught at York University, University of Toronto, Mount Sinai Hospital, Seneca College, community centres, churches, and dance and gymnastics studios.
Focus on Athleticism
Axel is known for his athletic workouts and his focus on postures which have the most therapeutic effects. Rare among yoga teachers, Axel enjoys teaching hatha yoga within the context of yoga and Buddhist philosophy. He introduces students to the philosophy of yoga in an engaging and accessible way that can be practically applied to stress management and personal development. Students make use of the concepts and practices they find meaningful for their own lives. The practice of yoga postures and breathing techniques can make a life changing difference in a student's life, however Axel encourages his students to deepen their exploration of yoga to develop their minds, calm their emotions and enhance their spiritual growth.
In addition to his yoga practice, Axel has a very strong connection to nature and enjoys, biking, running, swimming and kayaking. Part of yoga is living a healthy lifestyle beyond the yoga mat. Axel lectures on a variety of topics including diet, healing and home practice.
Since the beginning of his career, Axel has aligned his work with the teachings of Swami Sivananda, who founded the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh, India. Axel studied with teachers from this organization lecturing and working in Canada, including Swami Vishnudevananda and Swami Chidananda. Since that time, Axel's work has been influenced by their teachings and of other spiritual teachers, primarily H.H. The Dalai Lama, Paramahamsa Yogananda and Thich Nhat Hanh.
Axel is a student of Swami Sivananda who founded Integral Yoga. This approach combines the four main branches of yoga into one comprehensive system. Each of the four branches appeals to a different temperament. Karma Yoga emphasizes service, community and social engagement. Bhakti Yoga is a path of transformation through loving devotion. Raja Yoga focuses on disciplined practice and refinement of the will. Jnana Yoga is the path of developing the mind and acquiring wisdom. Integral Yoga promotes the development of all of these capacities, engaging the heart, mind and will in action.
Revered as a saint in India, Swami Sivananda wrote more than 350 books and stands as one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the 20th century. Beginning his career as a medical doctor, he was later initiated and became a monk. After many years of study and meditation, Swami Sivananda founded the Divine life Society. Since that time, many affiliated centres have been established around the world. For more information about this remarkable teacher, his mission and message, please consult www.sivanandaonline.org.