How can Anusara® yoga nourish your soul?
Anusara® Hatha Yoga was devised by a longtime student and practitioner of the Iyengar style, John Friend, in 1997.
The Anusara philosophy is based on non-dual tantra, which embraces both the Shiva and Shakti orientation of tantric tradition. The central tenet of this philosophy is a celebration of the divine, or the supreme consciousness, as manifested in all things. Students are encouraged to seek out the intrinsic goodness in themselves and others, and practices are centred on a ‘heart theme’ of emphasising love, community and self-respect.
Due to the school’s emphasis on the celebration of life and its encouragement of “opening to grace” as a way of living, Anusara yoga workshops quickly grew a large following in the United States, Europe, and Asia. As a result, it became a strong 21st century yoga movement.
The international authority on Anusara Hatha yoga is the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga, a people-centered, teacher-led, global yoga organization endorsing over 900 yoga teachers in 45 countries. The school is committed to fostering a community that inspires and supports Anusara yoga practitioners all over the globe.
Benefits of Anusara® yoga
Because Anusara is such a young school of yoga, academic research into the benefits of this specific style is sparse. Its practitioners and teachers, however, enthuse about its heart-centred approach, emphasising connection, the sharing of joy, and a sense of community.
This style’s emphasis on a methodology known as the Universal Principles of Alignment™ is intended to integrate mental as well as physical health. The school teaches postural alignment, with poses that aim to strengthen your body, improve your breathing and flexibility, with the overall intention of enhancing your sense of vitality.
Group classes emphasise a community spirit and focus on an artistic expression of the physical poses, in the interests of supporting creativity, mental focus and personal empowerment.
Anusara yoga can assist in relieving symptoms related to:
- Arthritis, rheumatism and osteoarthritis
- Back pain
- Balance, stability and coordination
- Brain fog and clarity
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Circulation and cardiovascular conditions
- Concentration, focus and problem solving
- Energy and vitality
- Flexibility, endurance and strength
- Immunity issues
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
- Mobility and movement
- Muscle spasm, tightness and cramps
- Nervous system and neurological conditions
- Posture and spine issues
- Respiratory and breathing issues
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Stress and tension
- Weight control and obesity
What to expect from an Anusara® yoga session
Anusara yoga teachers follow a strict licencing program to gain accreditation, which allows them to lead Anusara classes. A typical group class in this yoga style takes around 60-90 minutes.
During your yoga class, you will be guided in following the three main components of Anusara yoga: attitude, alignment, and action. Attitude is how you approach life, while alignment is your body’s position while doing your yoga poses. Action is the idea of taking your yoga ‘off the mat’ and applying the principles explored in class to your daily life.
The Anusara yoga routine begins with setting an intention for the group and frequently grounding the class through a shared chant. After some warm-up exercises and a progressive series of poses, the teacher will guide the class to a peak pose followed by winding down for a period of relaxation and/or meditation.
Some of the yoga poses in a typical Anusara yoga session can be physically strenuous, but this yoga style is described by practitioners as fun and energising since it emphasises optimism, spirituality, and a ‘heart-centred’ approach of looking for the best aspects of yourself and others.
As with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing yoga. If you have an injury or other health issue, or any concerns at all, also speak to your yoga instructor, who will be happy to address these and explore the option of tailoring the session to your individual requirements.