Different types of yoga, different focus. Today you’ll learn more about Anusara yoga and how it teaches you to live your life with overflowing goodness.
One of my basic principles in life is to never stop learning. I’ve been a yoga teacher for a few years now, and in spite of my knowledge and skill, I still feel I don’t know much! That is a good thing, though, since it inspires me to learn more. For example, over the last few months, a friend and I have been talking about Anusara yoga. She’s been doing it for the past year, and she couldn’t stop saying how it made her feel more fulfilled and happier. It got me curious.
Anusara Yoga | 5 Things You Need To Know
The Yoga of Openness, Intention, and Goodness
I don’t practice Anusara yoga, but I know I need to share whatever it is I’ve learned about it so you can decide for yourself if this is something you wish to explore.
1. Almost 20 Years
See that man? That is John Friend, the founder of Anusara yoga and a highly experienced yogi. He started Anusara in 1997, which means it’s turning 20 by next year! Over the years, many schools have opened around the world, so finding a class should not be too difficult for you.
2. The Heart Principle
“Anusara” is a Sanskrit word related to intrinsic goodness and flowing grace. For this reason, every class is designed to be inspirational, uplifting, freeing, and life affirming. This is achieved through invocations and chants (like oms), specific guidance from the teacher, and application of the three “As”: attitude, alignment, and action.
3. Universal Principles of Alignment
Anusara yoga is inspired by Iyengar yoga, which is a kind of hatha yoga that focuses on certain elements such as alignment. In Anusara, however, this is collectively called the Universal Principles of Alignment (UPA), which begin with opening with grace, followed by muscular energy, inner spiral, outer spiral, and organic energy. There are also three focal points of these principles: heart, pelvic, and upper palate. Each asana should focus on only one focal point.
The asanas are performed in a specific sequence, although the actual order of postures depends on the objective of the teacher – what kind of experience he or she wants the students to get from the session.
4. Energy In, Energy Out
The practice also believes yoga is more than postures. It’s also about intention and energy. You draw energy in and watch yourself go beyond your perceived limitations as you perform the sequence. However, the positive energy flow is realized only when the UPA is achieved. Thus, the teacher should take the time to make the necessary adjustments of the students’ postures.
5. Fun and Creativity
Anusara is perhaps one of the most fun classes you’ll get into. It is open to all types of people regardless of age, religion, and even special needs. Teachers can make adjustments to help the student maximize the pose while still enjoying a freedom of movement. The emphasis on love and goodness all the more makes each class special.
On the road and can’t attend an Anusara yoga class? No problem. Try this sequence from Eckhart Yoga:
Like you, I’m also discovering Anusara, but it would be fun if you’ll learn it with me. Let’s discover goodness, love, and inspiration together.
At Yoga Form, you can also learn Bikram yoga! Do let me know in the Comments section which of the two you prefer.