Anusara Yoga – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Yoga Styles Glossary

I. What is Anusara Yoga?

Anusara Yoga is a modern form of Hatha yoga that focuses on alignment, heart-opening, and the celebration of the divine in all beings. Founded by John Friend in 1997, Anusara Yoga has gained popularity for its inclusive and uplifting approach to yoga practice. The word “Anusara” can be translated as “flowing with grace” or “following your heart,” which encapsulates the essence of this style of yoga.

Anusara Yoga is known for its emphasis on alignment principles, which help practitioners to safely and effectively move through yoga poses. The practice also incorporates elements of Tantric philosophy, which views the world as inherently good and encourages practitioners to see the divine in themselves and others.

II. Origins and History of Anusara Yoga

Anusara Yoga was founded by John Friend in 1997 in the United States. Friend was inspired by various yoga traditions, including Iyengar Yoga, which focuses on alignment, and Tantra, which emphasizes the connection between the individual and the divine. Friend sought to create a style of yoga that combined these elements with a focus on heart-opening and celebration of the divine in all beings.

Since its inception, Anusara Yoga has grown in popularity and has spread to yoga studios around the world. The practice has evolved over the years, with various teachers adding their own unique perspectives and interpretations to the style.

III. Principles of Anusara Yoga

Anusara Yoga is based on a set of principles known as the “Universal Principles of Alignment.” These principles guide practitioners in how to align their bodies in yoga poses in order to prevent injury and create a more effective and transformative practice. Some of the key principles include “opening to grace,” “muscular energy,” and “organic energy.”

In addition to alignment principles, Anusara Yoga also emphasizes the importance of cultivating a positive attitude and seeing the divine in all beings. Practitioners are encouraged to approach their practice with an open heart and a sense of joy and gratitude.

IV. Anusara Yoga Poses and Sequences

Anusara Yoga includes a wide variety of yoga poses, ranging from basic standing poses to more advanced inversions and backbends. The practice often incorporates creative sequencing, with poses flowing together in a fluid and dynamic way. Some common poses in Anusara Yoga include Downward-Facing Dog, Warrior II, and Tree Pose.

Sequences in Anusara Yoga are designed to help practitioners build strength, flexibility, and balance, while also promoting a sense of connection to the divine. Teachers may also incorporate themes or intentions into their sequences, such as gratitude or self-love, to enhance the spiritual aspect of the practice.

V. Anusara Yoga Community and Teachers

Anusara Yoga has a strong sense of community, with practitioners often coming together to support and uplift one another. Many studios that offer Anusara Yoga classes also host workshops, retreats, and other events to help practitioners deepen their practice and connect with like-minded individuals.

Anusara Yoga teachers are highly trained and certified in the style, and they often bring their own unique perspectives and experiences to their classes. Teachers may also incorporate elements of other yoga traditions into their Anusara classes, creating a rich and diverse practice for students to explore.

In conclusion, Anusara Yoga is a modern and inclusive style of yoga that focuses on alignment, heart-opening, and the celebration of the divine in all beings. With its emphasis on alignment principles, creative sequencing, and positive attitude, Anusara Yoga offers practitioners a transformative and uplifting practice that can help them connect more deeply with themselves and the world around them.