Established in 1997, Anusara yoga now is one of the most popular forms of yoga being practiced today. It is also often referred to as heart-centered yoga. Its popularity may have something to do with the positivism it espouses.
By definition, Anusara specifically means to go with the flow of nature, the flow of grace, or to follow your heart - hence the alternate title of Heart-Centered Yoga. In Anusara yoga, the "asana" poses, when combined with the "universal principles of alignment," allow a connection with the divine goodness of nature. This connection is referred to as "supreme consciousness." To achieve that, Anusara yoga practitioners must exercise the principles and go with the flow.
For some, simply hearing the words "go with the flow" can be very relaxing. But Anusara yoga does not end there. It holds a much deeper meaning. The feeling obtained also is much more intense. It is an overwhelming feeling of joy, love, peace, enlightenment, happiness, oneness and connection with nature. In this type of yoga, your heart is centered and in tune with nature, as well as yourself.
Energy from the Heart
The energy that is tapped for Anusara yoga comes from within the body, rather than the outside. Specifically, the energy is deeply rooted in a natural state of inner feelings from the heart. To tap these feelings, Heart-Centered yoga participants use the universal principles of alignment.
In the words of Dr. Douglas Brooks, a leading scholar of Hindu Tantrism, "Flowing with Grace, anusarena, we experience our inner worth, we align our bodies, our minds and hearts in the current of the Divine flowing through us, we celebrate life itself as we touch the Divinity who pulsates within us as our every thought, feeling, and experience."
One With Nature and Heart-Centered
Anusara yoga celebrates the heart as well as nature. It is not a domination of nature, but rather a harmony and participation with the natural flow of things. "Inner body bright" is a secondary principle and is the term for the energy flow achieved through the first main principle of Anusara yoga. That first principle is called "opening to grace" and is an essential starting point for every pose. In opening to grace, the goal is to align with supreme consciousness.
In Anusara yoga, the main focus is a spiritual connection to innate goodness as well as the freedom of expression related to that goodness. While there are strict principles involved, creativity and self-expression are greatly encouraged.
Anusara (Heart-Centered) Yoga as a Way of Life
The philosophy behind Anusara yoga is not left behind on the mat for participants. It often is a big part of the way they live. Anusara yoga is not just practiced a few times a week like simple exercises. In fact, it is not actually considered an exercise at all, but rather a spiritual connection and a way of life.
With Anusara yoga comes the realization that life, as experienced through one's true nature, is perfect. It is not something that needs to be corrected, but rather should be embraced for what it is. There is beauty in everything and nature is as it was intended to be when created. That said, the spiritual awakening, or supreme consciousness, achieved through Anusara yoga is also intended to allow the discernment between things that are of nature and are good for us, and those that are material and may not be. While not all material is bad, some may be.
An Inviting Community
Anusara yoga is rapidly growing in popularity and has a large community base. Those involved in the Heart-Centered yoga community are said to be friendly, inviting and have open minds. All expressions stemming from Anusara yoga are positive in nature. They stem from the heart and are all about experiencing and expressing love, peace and happiness from the inside out. Because its roots involve love, participants from all backgrounds and religions are welcome to join the community. The philosophy can be learned and practiced by attending classes and seminars.
Anusara Yoga Techniques
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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