Understanding Anusara Yoga

Defining Anusara Yoga

People who have been practicing yoga for some time understand that most yoga styles have their roots in traditional Indian practices. The distinctive aspect of Anusara yoga is that it is a relatively modern style that can trace its roots to styles like Iyengar and Hatha yoga. Anusara was founded by a yoga teacher known as John Friend in 1997. His aim in developing this style was to focus on a more westernized style but with a stronger spiritual practice.

The Structure of Anusara Yoga

One of the defining factors of Anusara yoga is that it is grounded on the Tantric philosophy. This is where practitioners focus on achieving goodness and well-being. The focus of Anusara yoga leans more towards mental benefits than the physical. If you are looking for cardiovascular benefits with your yoga practice, you should look into classes that teach other styles like Bikram or Vinyasa yoga.

Another aspect of Anusara yoga is that teachers are discouraged from trying to fix the poses of their students. Instead, they encourage them to develop their own poses. Instead of giving a strict set of poses to follow, the teacher offers a general guideline showing them the principles of alignment. With this and other varied tools, a student can come up with poses that best suits him or her.

Anusara yoga is arranged into three levels. Sessions have a beginning, middle, and end. The goal of engaging in Anusara yoga is to achieve self-improvement, self-esteem, and positivity. There are also those who participate in Anusara yoga with the aim of dealing with stress and the pressure of modern life.

Key Movements in Anusara Yoga

Inner Spiral – Common poses include moving things backwards, rotating legs inward, and spinning forearms inwards. The spiral movement helps expand energy from the feet up the body through the waistline.

The Outer Spiral – This movement focuses on the waistline and the tailbone. By concentrating the force in this area, a student moves the thighs forwards and rotates the legs outward.

Opening to Grace – Here, a few specific exercises can be used to achieve total devotion and open the mind.

Organic Energy – Here, a teacher encourages the students to employ the organic energy that exist in the core lines of the body. This helps increase flexibility and freedom with each pose.

The Mental and Physical Requirements

Participating in Anusara yoga is easy since the requirements are somewhat flexible. It is not as difficult as some other forms of yoga. If you have the strength to hold a pose, then you are able to participate. The other factor that one may need to note is that Anusara yoga uses vocabulary that is a bit different from other forms of yoga. However, all trainers have been trained to explain what they all mean.

The physical requirements include:

A Nada chair

A yoga mat


And yoga blocks.

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