Yoga for those with a big heart; Anusara is a form of yoga that expresses spirituality through each of the physical movements. Every pose springs from a deeply devout feeling within bringing energy from the inside out. It's the perfect form of yoga if you want the physical and spiritual benefits with an added element of creativity and freedom.
Anusara yoga was developed in America by John Friend in 1997 as a creative, free-flowing and graceful discipline (Anusara means 'flowing with grace'). It follows the traditional Hatha style of yoga with the focus on three main elements: attitude, alignment and action.
Attitude is all about the heart - it's the strength, energy and passion that comes from within to form the physical postures.
Alignment is all about the mind - it's the power of awareness of your own body and the way each part of you is connected. There are 'Universal Principles of Alignment', which are the lynch pins for all of the postures of Anusara yoga.
The Universal principals of Alignment:
Finally, action is all about energy - it's the natural flow of energy that occurs when you are performing the postures with the correct attitude and alignment.
Anusara is a very spiritual form of yoga, perfect if you have emotional knots that need untangling or your sense of wellbeing is at a low ebb. Your guru might lead the class in song or mantra to start off with, broaching an emotion-orientated theme to encourage the students to reveal more of their spirit. It's not all chanting, though; you'll get physical with yoga poses that are developed from the traditional hatha style with simultaneous meditation and breath work.
Overall, Anusara may sound like a very advanced form of yoga because it focuses on developing deep and sincere devotion, but as one of the more modern yogic disciplines, you're likely to find that your class has a fresh, playful and light-hearted atmosphere.
As with any yoga class, it's a good idea to wear loose, stretchy clothing that doesn't restrict your movements. You might also want to take a bottle of water and a yoga mat if they are not provided. On average an Anusara yoga class will last between 45 to 90 minutes - just long enough for you to come a step closer to seeing your innate goodness and worthiness and to leave feeling truly uplifted.
Anusara yoga is thought to be quite bohemian. There are no 'set in stone' guidelines and so the form can evolve dynamically all the time. Self-examination and self-discovery are encouraged and it's important to be open to new ideas.
Classes are community oriented, non-competitive and nurturing. As the philosophy is founded upon finding the greater good in people, all abilities and ages are welcome and although the teacher may correct your posture and give you advice, individuality and creativity is encouraged. So, if you want a class that is welcoming, involving and creatively challenging, Anusara may well be the yoga for you.
Anusara is the fastest growing form of hatha yoga in the USA. To visit the founder John Friend's website click here