Anusara yoga is a modern-day Hatha yoga system founded by John Friend. Anusara means “flowing with grace,” “going with the flow,” “following your heart.”
Anusara Yoga is rooted in a non-dual Tantric philosophy that we are all inherently good. It draws from this that life is a gift that we are invited to remember and celebrate in our yoga practice.
Anusara emphasizes “Universal Principles of Alignment” as the focal point of its practice, which underlie all of the physical asanas. These principles are important in the practice of yoga as they give you guidelines on how to align your body, heart and mind in a way that provides both integration and safe opening so circulation is optimal and strength, good health and wellbeing are fostered.
Yoga is about finding our centre. These principles are tools to guide you into balance.
Many Anusara yoga teachers teach in the vinyasa flow style with holding some (key) poses for a longer time. A flow practice helps to connect you to your breath and the breath serves as a guide in your asana practice. Vinyasa flow warms up the body and links the focus of the class to the physical expression. Holding the poses allows for more explanation of the key alignment principle and the linking of the spiritual intention to your body.
Anusara yoga is designed for students of any level or ability. There are over 250 poses included in Anusara Yoga but there are no set postural routines. Most yoga teachers end the class with a meditation/relaxation.
As part of the positive focus of Anusara yoga, teachers and instructors will generally not “fix” student poses, in terms of alignment, but instead, instruct the proper usage of the principles of alignment and allow each individual to develop on their own.
The benefits of a regular Anusara practice
When you practise with an intention and intelligent awareness of the body and mind, the groundwork is laid down to structurally shift and improve. A regular Anusara yoga practice makes the body stronger and more flexible, heals injuries faster and evens out imbalances that naturally exist in the body. The heart and mind are invited to join along this evolution and become more resilient and softer, peaceful and joyous, happy and balanced.