If you are seeking a life-changing yogic experience, you may want to explore the uplifting postures and tantras of Anusara yoga. It is one of a number of yoga styles that puts a unique twist on the ancient practices of Hatha yoga and markets a new yoga to the world. Anusara combines Universal Principles of Alignment based on Hatha yoga with a Tantric philosophy of the “celebration of the heart” — or in Sanskrit, Shri, “the divine auspiciousness” — which means to seek the intrinsic good or favourable in all things. With the focus on intrinsic good, Anusara yoga aims to help you become a more compassionate and sensitive individual.
When you join Anusara yoga, you will not only be joining a yoga movement but a world community of kulas — the name given to members of the Anusara movement. As a “co-creator” in this new philosophy, you are part of the development of a yoga style of life wherein life is not viewed as “hard labor” but something inspiring and to be celebrated. In Sanskrit, Anusara means “flowing with grace.” Lacking a rigid dogma, you will play an active role in a constantly evolving practice and philosophy of yoga.
The Heart of Anusara Yoga
Anusara classes incorporate the Hatha yoga practices of asanas and pranayamas while focusing on leading with the heart.
- Intrinsic Goodness: The overriding theme of each class is seeking the intrinsic goodness in all things. Teachers do not correct student posture and alignment but instead focus on inspiring the student’s innate goodness and self-esteem.
- Heart Theme: Each class has a heart theme. The class not only endeavours to bestow a virtue in students but provide them with direction for “attitudinal energy” that encourages action.
- 3 “A”s: Attitude, Alignment and Action focus on applying meaningful intention to the yoga practice.
- Heartfelt Action: Each class ends with centering and encouragement to put the heart theme into practice in daily life.
In essence, Anusara yoga’s founder John Friend has taken the intrinsic goodness theme in ancient Tantric yoga and amplified it to good effect. Anusara yoga’s message has quickly spread as part of a growing community of yoga celebrants who are congregating at yoga fests for group downward dogs (a common yoga pose) and concerts. Since the start of the US-based yoga movement, Anusara yoga has spread to 70 countries and is practiced by over 200,000 students.
If you are seeking to create positive change in your life, this band of do-gooders may be the change you need. The heartfelt energy in the group has formed a strong bond among adherents who are also encouraged to go out and do good in the world through volunteer work and other forms of community service. Within the Anusara yoga community, kulas are encouraged to help each other and embrace Anusara visitors into the community.
Embraced, you may soon find yourself among the smiling faces participating in what has become a signature move of Anusara yoga, a large group of beaming kulas thrusting forward into an enthusiastic sun salutation. In the words of its founder, moved by the heart, Anusara promises to continue to evolve, celebrate, and “rock out.” Namaste!