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Anusara Yoga
Religious origins: Hinduism
Regional origins: The Woodlands, Texas, USA
Founding Guru: John Friend
Mainstream popularity: Growing from the late 20th century
Practice emphases: alignment, "heart opening" postures and the spiritual and meditative aspects of hatha yoga
Derivative forms:
Related schools
Other topics
Tantra

Anusara Yoga is a modern school of yoga started by John Friend in 1997; it is a popular hatha yoga style with a Tantric philosophy. Friend continues to take an active role leading the expansion of the school and training (and certifying) teachers.

The emphasis of the school is on a set of "Universal Principles of Alignment" which underlie all postures, "heart opening" postures and the spiritual/meditative benefits of hatha yoga.

Attainable bliss and joy in practice and everyday life are an important aspect of the underlying philosophy of this school. Many western students with a modernist bent find this school attractive.

PhilosophyEdit

The underlying philosophy of this school of hatha yoga is tantric in nature. As such, the manifest universe (perceived through our senses and mind) is seen as a manifestation of the Divine. The nature of the Divine − God, the undifferentiated Absolute, the Essence of everything and everyone, the Transcendental − is pure bliss. The nature of God, by its very definition, is absolute and free of any limitations.
In a grand game of hide and seek, the Absolute seeks to experience its own blissful nature by creating a vast, infinite diversity of form.

Opening InvocationEdit

Each Anusara class typically opens with the singing of the following mantra:

ॐ नमः शिवय गुरवे
Om Namah Shivaya Gurave

सचिदननद मुतयै
Saccidananda Murtaye

निसपपचय शनतय
Nishprapanchaya Shantaya

निरलमबय तेजसे
Niralambaya Tejase


Om


As Sanskrit is a concept-based language, a literal translation is difficult to achieve. One translation is as follows:


"I offer myself to Lord Shiva, the Auspicious One, who is the True Teacher within and without,
Who assumes the forms of Reality, Consciousness, and Bliss,
Who is never absent and is full of peace,
Independent in existence, the vital essence of Illumination."

The Three A's - Attitude, Alignment, ActionEdit

The practice of Anusara Yoga can be broadly categorized into three parts: Attitude, Alignment, and Action.

Attitude
The concept of Attitude is related to the Tantric concept of Iccha Shakti, which is defined as the energy or power of fullness, or will. The concept of Attitude is related to the heart. Attitude, according to John Friend, is the "power of the heart as the force behind every action or expression in an asana." It is "the aspiration to reawaken to our divine nature, and the celebration of life."[1]

Alignment
The concept of Alignment is related to the Tantric concept of Jnana Shakti, which is defined as the energy or power of awareness. The concept of Alignment is related to the mind. Alignment, according to John Friend, is the "mindful awareness of how various parts of ourselves are integrated and interconnected."[2]

Action
The concept of Action is related to the Tantric concept of Kriya Shakti, which is defined as the energy or power of action. The concept of Action is related to the body. Action, according to John Friend, is the "natural flow of energy in the body, which provides both stability and joyful freedom."[3]

John Friend draws the following anaolgy on the use and interplay of Attitude, Alignment, and Action in one's yoga practice:

A musician (yogi) makes music (performs an asana) by expressing his heart (Attitude) through the playing (Action) of a properly tuned instrument (Alignment of the body). The highest expression of an asana (the most beautiful music that a musician can potentially play with a particular instrument) occurs when the instrument of the body is optimally Aligned, the Action is strong and balanced, and the Attitude is spiritually pure and powerful.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Manual (eight edition), by John Friend, page 25
  2. Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Manual (eight edition), by John Friend, page 25
  3. Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Manual (eight edition), by John Friend, page 25

External linksEdit

sv:Anusara yoga
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