Anusara Yoga

We live in a time that the most fertile is ever in the history of hatha yoga, which relates to development and innovation. As the branches of a tree, emanating from the trunk, have a lot of new styles from the older, classical traditions developed. The roots of Anusara Yoga grew out of a tantric line, an alignment oriented form of Hatha Yoga, modern knowledge of biomechanics and the understanding that community support and depth can give to our spiritual progress us.

I already had seven years practicing yoga and learned to love it when I Anusara Yoga discovered. My Home Practice was sacred to me and I visited the workshops of all possible guest teachers of different styles – in any style I found aspects that I liked and which were very valuable to me. In the early years of my practice I found a relatively strong transformation both on a personal and health level. After several years of daily practice I made a practice while still remaining joy, but it “happened” not much. In fact, I put to even injury and had to some parts of the body chronic pain. My body had become hyper flexible – therefore came my injuries – but the strict discipline and the influence of classical yoga philosophy seemed me as a person to make more stringent and less flexible. Because of my dedication and my enthusiasm for yoga, some people asked me if I wanted to teach. Although I only had a rudimentary yoga teacher training, I had quickly a growing number of students. Soon I realized that I needed a further training and in-depth knowledge to deepen not only to my own yoga, but also to my students for their subjects to help better. My search led me to Anusara – and at this point the second stage of a major transformation started in my Yoga life. The alignment principles gave me the stability and integrationthat had been missing until then. Certain conversations that were previously impossible to me come to me at once with ease. My usual “aches and pains” disappeared when my body in the field was stronger, in which I had previously been weak and more flexible in the areas where I was previously blocked. I had an injury suffered me by an adjustment that is applied frequently in the traditional style. Over time and with perseverance, it was possible to cure this serious hip injury and the proposed by orthopedic surgery to avoid (the insertion of an artificial hip joint).

The Tantric philosophy as a new basis for my spiritual practice and the concept of Kula (Community) began to change me as a person. The people around me spoke to me that I was warmer and more sensitive than previously accessible. I began increasingly to open and express from a free heart. Feel me happy was less dependent on external circumstances and became a living, for I could consciously decide. Initially required teaching the alignment principles in connection with the tantric thought some effort and practice. It encouraged me to see that I was now better able to help students: I experienced that these principles enabled them more easily, deeper and more enjoyable to get into conversations.We all were making progress! When I was experienced in teaching Anusara yoga, my students began to open on physical and emotional level more.

Overall, I took five years to complete complete my certification. During this time I was able to study the technical aspects of teaching and developing. In addition, it was through my Kula – active incorporation into the Community – possible to develop my “interpersonal” skills as a yoga teacher, I understand better now to connect with people so connected that I could support them better in their own development ,

Anusara Yoga – how it all began

The method was founded in 1997 by an innovative Americans: John Friend , a leading Iyengar yoga teacher, who was also a student of Gurumayi Chidvilasananda and for years a Hatha Yoga teacher her Siddha Yoga Ashram. Siddha Yoga, which was introduced by Swami Muktananda, follows the philosophical tradition of Kashmiri Shaivism and therefore this non-dualistic, tantric philosophy was the basis of Anusara Yoga. The years of therapeutic work with injured students and matching these observations eventually led to the development of a hatha yoga method that so strongly differed from all other yoga styles that she asked for a separate name. Anusara Yoga was born as a style of one handthe complexity and depth has, on the other hand through its unique principles and his logical methodology is very accessible. The word “Anusara” comes from a verse of the tantric text Kularnava Tantra “. Shaktipata-anusarena shishyonugraham arhati” ( “By goes with the flow of the divine Shakti to the heart, is the true student capable of receiving grace. “) literally means Anusara to be in the river to swim in the stream of the divine, to dwell in the heart and to flow with grace. The highest motivation to practice Anusara Yoga is to align with the Divine, or the art to connect with the Supreme and to contribute capable.

It should feel good!

The following description of the Anusara system, his philosophy and alignment principles may seem at first sight as a large collection of technical information, which is not easy to detect. If you have practiced regularly Anusara or perhaps even visited the immersion, to change. Perhaps the question arises what the point of all these principles should be. They can all be collectively explained by the fact that they are to serve the practitioners on its way to more well-being and recognizing its inherent gloss.In other words: The asana practice along with the orientation and the life-affirming philosophyleads us to experience our own “Well-Being”. If we actually physically and emotionally feel good, we experience a spiritual transformation and begin to open up a new way of life. We are not only in line with our own bodies, but with life itself. This is the heart-opening experience to which we aspire. So how can we know if we are in optimal alignment? By us feel good – physically, emotionally and spiritually balanced, stable and free.

The method: Attitude, Alignment, Action

As method Anusara includes three main features: the non-dualistic, tantric philosophy, the biomechanical alignment principles and Kula (Community). These three aspects are briefly as the “3 A’s” summarized: Attitude (attitude), alignment (alignment), Action (action). It is ” Attitude ” to be understood as the energy of heart behind every action or any expression, both in Asana and in life. It is the deep longing in us again to awaken to our own divine nature and to celebrate life. It is our vision, the intention and the feeling with which we want to connect with the living. She is the “why” of our existence and our yoga practice.

Alignment ” is the conscious awareness that and how different parts are connected and linked by us. It is the knowledge of how we interact harmoniously and fulfilling manner, respond and can create confidence. It is the “how” of our trip.

Action ” is the natural movement of energy in the body, which has a calming effect both its stability and joyful by their freedom. This aspect describes the moment in which we entirely find ourselves in the experience where we have performed our highest intentions and insights. It literally means to bring “Attitude” and “alignment” in action and reflects the “what” of our lives. Our actions, how we deal with our relationships and influences through and with others, is our yoga in life. The Community or Kula offers us the field in which we can see how our yoga serves us.
The spontaneous and natural result of “Attitude”, “Alignment” and “Action” is the actual fulfillment of the longing of the heart – our highest intention which finds expression in the way we can move even in the larger flow of life and in a harmonious relationship with the exist, that is. All these concepts refer equally to the practice as to life. In Anusara the asana practice is seen as a way to embody the ideals and qualities that we strive for, and apply.


Anusara hours vary with respect to the philosophical theme of alignment focus, the asana selection and the level of the students. There are no fixed exercise series. Therefore, make all teachers their hours with a specific theme itself. Partly also aids are used, however, Anusara greater emphasis that the students found by applying the alignment principles in your own body good alignment. Each class begins by briefly the philosophical heart theme of the hour is explained – followed by a brief meditation phase and the singing of “Invocation”. The heart theme is woven into the practice. The choice of asanas and the physical focus of the day will be associated with the topic. So the philosophical concept is not just a nice idea, but is a physical experience. In general, the classes include both dynamic movements and pleasant, intense lingering in the asanas. This means a balance of active movements and detailed attention to the conversations to deepen the practice and refine. An Anusara class constitutes “3 A’s” to by three specific factors will be considered: a Tantric worldview that universal alignment principles and spirit of community. It does not define itself by choosing the asanas, the compilation of the sequences or the speed of movement, but by the way in which the asanas are practiced and which setting. What makes the practice, are the actions that take place within the mold – in conjunction with a humble attitude of openness. The teachers lead their students in a way that aims to emotionally and spiritually to rise and at the same time to have a healing effect on a physical level.

The principles and the methodology intended to serve the students to the fact that it recognizes its value and its infinite potential. “Chit-Ananda”, the expansion of consciousness that leads to happiness is considered a supreme motivation for practice. In other words: What we really want is for us to get to know yourself more fully. We want to know who we are in our true essence – unveiled by the veils of darkness, of doubt and worthlessness. This information is disclosed by our blissful nature and allows us to show ourselves creatively from this part out.

The universal alignment principles (UPA)

In Anusara are each holding five main principles – the universal alignment principles – implemented.These principles are therapeutically effective and are the foundation of yoga therapy that is applied within the Anusara method. They also embody the “3 A’s” as part of the yoga practice.

  1. First principle – “Open to Grace” (Being open to the “abundance of grace”)
    The first principle is a conscious direction of our intention – open and to be in the river with the Supreme (Grace). This setting provides a frank dedication, a willingness to be open and receptive in every moment of the energy of life. On the physical level, this first principle is primarily in the fact that we create an optimal foundation in any posture – with the same care, as we continue our focus on the practice. Next is created by the breathing space and a pleasant fullness in the inner body. This “light up” out of the students from the inside and the body sides are longer. All this is a physical expression of complete openness towards life. Breathing is the basis for the entire practice.
  2. Muscular energy
    This term describes the active bringing the energy from the periphery to the body towards the center – the focal point. The skin and muscles nestle closer to the bones, the joints stretch isometric to the center line and there is a subtle flow of energy from the outer parts of the body (feet, hands, head) rather than to the center. This leads to greater stability, strength and integration within the Asana.In addition, all parts of the body are consciously perceived, whereby a holistic mind-body experience arises.
  3. Interior / expanding spiral
    This action begins at the inner front edge of the feet and moves along the legs up to the pelvis as an expanding spiral of energy. It ends high on the back of the waist. This principle rotates the legs (mainly the thigh front side) inward, moves the upper lugs of the thighs rearwardly and outwardly.Thus, the pool and the area between the seat bones widens. The inner spiral refines the alignment of the femur in the hip socket, provides greater flexibility in the hips and pelvis and also helps in enhancing the natural concave curvature of the lower back in the case of a flat lumbar spine. The inner spiral of the arms rotates the forearms of an anatomically neutral position inward to align the wrists and shoulders.
  4. Outer / contractive spiral
    This principle works with along and opposite to the inner spiral. The outer coil is the contractive force which acts from the back of the waist of, on the tailbone down to the legs and feet. It stabilizes the pelvis, the coccyx moved down and forward in the space previously created by the inner coil.Thus they extended the curve in the lumbar spine. The thighs rotate slightly outwards. The contracting spiral ends at the feet of one another with a subtle pulling the heel, whereby the posture is stable. The balanced, joint action by the inner and outer spiral resulting in Mulabandha-related stress in the basin, which is produced naturally by this alignment of the pelvis. The key for the balance of the two spirals is to keep the actions of the interior, while one adds that of the outer. For the poor, the outer spiral rotates the upper arms outward and away from each other. This refines the heart open quality of Anusara Yoga practice.
  5. Organic Energy
    The term “organic” refers to a natural and subtle energy flow, which rises from the center of the body (at a fixed focal point) and moves along the core lines of the body in the periphery. As a counterforce to the muscular energy extended, expanded and enlarged the organic energy expansion and flexibility. This gives the practitioner a sense of joyful freedom in the conversations. The organic energy arises first at the focal point and then moves down to the base of entertainment. This rooting on the base at the same time promotes the natural, aspiring upward expansion of all areas of the body above the focal point. The organic energy gives the practice a pleasant feeling of an expanding ease.

focal points

In each Asana there is an active of three focal points: the center of the basin, at the lowest point of the heart and the upper palate. The active focus point is always the same time the next located to the foundation and carries the most weight. For example, in all standing poses, the focal point in the pool, doing a handstand in the heart and in the head level in the upper palate.

The energy “Loops”

When Anusara Yoga developed, increasingly refining elements were integrated into the system. The “Loops” describe circular movements that are taking place energetically in the body. There are seven loops:

  1. “Ankle-Loop”
  2. “Shin-Loop”
  3. “Thigh-Loop”
  4. “Pelvic Loop”
  5. “Kidney-loop”
  6. “Shoulder Loop”
  7. “Skull Loop”

The “Loops” found in practice only after the five main principles (UPA) application and are to be understood as fine-tuning to optimize the alignment even more specific.

How to learn the method

Since Anusara is a relatively new Hatha Yoga style, which also requires a long learning path, in Europe there are so far only a handful of certified teachers. As a student, you can visit weekly classes. Intense can deal with the method in workshops and master classes or even delve deeper with the 108-hour immersion series. For those who want to be trained as a teacher, 100-hour training is offered, which can be used, however, begin after the immersion. Only then follows the first level of Anusara teacher certification that gives a teacher the title “Anusara Inspired”. Both this status and the one full certification are attached to a mentor system that hour assessments and feedback sessions includes.How long the whole process eventually takes is different individually.

Life-affirming Tantric philosophy

Anusara Yoga is a clearly defined, non-dualistic, tantric worldview underlying that regards life in the core as well. “Non-dualistic” refers to the Tantra preceding and conflicting philosophies which the manifest and see the spiritual world as a completely separate. Tantra, however, is the view that there are not two separate realities, but only a single energy that permeates all existence – both in absolute as well as relative. The word “Tantra” means a tool, instrument or a technique for expansion. As concept, it includes a wide variety of schools and practices, jointly shared by all the idea that everything is consciousness. The branch of Tantra, who coined Anusara, the Kashmiri Shaivism – he sees consciousness as absolutely free to, pulsing with joy. This all-pervading energy, the highest consciousness, manifests itself because of sheer desire to experience itself as a manifestation, opposition and expansion. Therefore, consciousness and bliss (Chit-Ananda) the essence of all things.If you look at the world in this way, one obtains a deep trust in the good that underlies the existence and life.

So Anusara is based on the concept of the intrinsically good and teaches for everything to be open and receptive, and participate fully in the life and reality. The highest consciousness, whose basic nature involves absolute freedom, abundance and unlimited creative power, decided to limit to finally recognize itself in its original, unlimited and true nature. Also we find in the game of concealment and revelation, in which we have forgotten our true nature to eventually make the blissful experience to rediscover the joyful essence of our being. The ultimate goal of Anusara yoga is that students recognize their own true nature as conscious beings of bliss, by providing them with a technique or a Wekzeug, get closer to their divine essence. In Anusara Yoga asanas are regarded as creative expressions of the heart – forms that help us to develop our skills and sensitivity to orient us to our divine nature. John Friend did not invent the alignment principles, but he had the ability, just to see patterns in the body, reflect the larger, universal and cosmic patterns.

Kula – Community of the heart

“Kula” or the “community of the heart” is part of the way we put our Yoga in the world. In relationships we encounter the challenges that encourage our personal growth. There are the people with whom we are in relationships that allow us to celebrate and share the beauty of life. The Kula reminds us that we are with our efforts, pains, joys, questions and answers are not alone. In fact, the community is the field in which we can bring the insights that we have gained in our lives and observe how we have changed.There we get support when we need it, and can the other way around those associated with our talents and gifts to the side, with whom we feel connected. By closeness and interaction we begin our own value and how we fit into the big picture, to understand at a deeper level. The word “Tantra”, on the one hand describes a tool to expand may also indicate a “loom”. The tantric vision states that the highest consciousness is woven into all forms of life – the One became the many. We can understand ourselves as the threads, all together form a beautiful, colorful carpet of harmony and unity.

One thought on “Anusara Yoga

  • December 4, 2016 at 3:01 am

    Wow! Thank you for sharing. I found your post at the bottom of high performance trucking article.

    I went to the Ashram upstate NY for a retreat in 1982, after being introduced to Kundalini Yoga by my sister living in Houston.

    Your journey is worlds apart from my own, but the parallel of self discovery brought forward by chronic pain due to hyper mobility is … beyond remarkable.

    I would go on, but chronic pain limits how deep this goes.

    “The Perfect Storm!” The three A’s! I am grateful to have crossed paths.

    Thank you


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