The art of Anusara Yoga is a co-participation with the Supreme – not of domination, subjugation or control of Nature. The poses are considered to be heart-oriented, meaning that they are expressed from inside-out. Instead of trying to control the body and mind from the outside, the poses originate from a deep creative and devotional feeling inside. Navodita, our Yoga expert, takes us through various schools of Yoga. This week she dwells on Anusara Yoga, exclusively in Different Truths.
Yoga has many schools these days. It is such a wide subject and philosophy that many schools of thought have emerged. One of them is Anusara Yoga, which believes that you are a part of the Divine and the Supreme Consciousness. The art of Anusara Yoga is a co-participation with the Supreme – not of domination, subjugation or control of Nature. The poses are considered to be heart-oriented, meaning that they are expressed from inside-out. Instead of trying to control the body and mind from the outside, the poses originate from a deeply creative and devotional feeling inside. Once on the mat, in Anusara Yoga you have to feel the joy or Sat-Chit-Ananda or the highest intention of practicing Yoga, reconnecting with your innate Goodness and expressing yourselves from that Divine place.
“My body is my temple while Asanas are my prayers,” is what Yoga exponent B.K.S. Iyengar said. Likewise, the physical body is considered to be the manifestation of the Spirit, not simply an inferior metal vessel. Similarly, your thoughts, desires, passions, and emotions are considered to be the God-given means of expanding your experience with the Supreme. Ultimately the body-mind is a Divine gift to help you discover your glory, your greatness and help you realise how good you are in your material pursuits. The main belief of this form of Yoga is that life is good.
Goodness is the absolute nature of the Universe. There is no intrinsic or absolute Evil in the universe is its basic premise. As you are born free to choose your own experience, you are free and capable of moving out of alignment with the Divine in the way that creates suffering and harm. Anusara Yoga practice offers you the ability to cultivate your understanding of what is life-enhancing and what is not. You then use your power of discrimination and judgment to align with the good in order to reduce suffering, diminish division, dissolve hatred and conversely to enjoy life with peace and equanimity.
Spiritual awakening is the ever expanding process of recognizing that your true nature is perfect, full, lacking nothing and interconnected to everything else that exists. Spiritual freedom or enlightenment is not a fixed state of things. It is an ever-evolving process of unfolding goodness, balance and perfection. Progress on the path of awakening is reflected in an increase in one’s spiritual centeredness, wisdom, and trust in Divine play, ability to honour the Divine in others and ability to honour the Divine grandeur in your life.
The theme of most Anusara yoga classes are virtue-centric. The theme provides an attitude that is reflected through all of the elements including asana and pranayama. A set of principles, aptly titled ‘Universal Principles of Alignment’ must be applied to each pose. These include the three A’s – Attitude, Alignment, and Action. This is a foundational concept where every asana is ‘infused with a meaningful intention connected to the grand purposes of yoga, awareness of the posture, and balanced action between stability and freedom. Two forces balance out each pose- Muscular Energy and Organic Energy. Muscular energy is inward-turning, contracting and centering while Organic energy is outward-turning, expansive, expressive and creative.
At the heart of this form of Yoga thus lies an inspiration – a feeling, an attitude or a ‘bhavana’. This is what fills the practice with life so that your yoga becomes a force that transforms your life in line with your own highest intentions- and in line with the intention of the Divine for you. Yoga begins with your choice to participate, your own intention – pravritti – which from the Sanskrit word truly means a ‘turning’ of your heart towards your own inner good. Yet Yoga is not simply an affair of human intentions but more inclusive divine intention by which we are all united.
Yoga, according to Anusara School, is the practice of recollecting and returning to the perfect state- the state at its most immediate means to be fully in the present moment as the true and eternal reality. It is in this moment – Now – that Consciousness is present in its fullness, undiminished by the mental ideas and impressions of past and future, and fully potent to realise its creative freedom, Svatantrya. A yogic asana or a practice thus holds the experience of stillness and movement, one inside the other, one constantly transforming the other.
Thus, the experience of being in ‘the flow of grace’ in your practice of yoga- is the literal meaning of the Sanskrit word ‘Anusara’. Yoga is the unfolding of emotions from your heart, the poses coming out in its best form through the heart, not the head. While you enjoy doing all poses from the deepest emotion within, we will take you through to the other schools of yoga and their philosophies next time.
Photos from the internet.
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Navodita Pande has been practicing yoga since she was 9 years old in Iyengar Yoga. In April 1995, she performed at the International Yoga Seminar. In January 2003, Navodita taught at Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mandir in New York. Navodita had a Yoga show on NDTV 24×7 and was also the official yoga trainer for Miss Delhi contestants in 2007. She currently teaches Yoga and Reiki to
people in Kanpur.