Yoga & Anusara® Yoga
Yoga means “to be one” or “to connect” and is an ancient Indian practice system that has developed and proven itself over centuries. It is philosophy, science, art and therapy in one. It includes a series of mental and physical exercises and describes an attitude towards life. All yoga directions have basically the same goal: to experience the unity of body, mind and soul inwardly, the union with our true nature and our spiritual essence.
There are different paths for reaching this goal. For example, Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge in which oneness is achieved through cognition, Bhakti is the path of devotion in which oneness is achieved through unconditional service and unconditional love, Raja the path of meditation and Hatha Yoga – the path of the body. But actually, we combine in Hatha all these different paths of yoga!
Yoga only found its way to the West about 100 years ago. When we talk about yoga here, we usually mean Hatha Yoga, which is initially associated with Asanas (physical exercises). The Asanas are a tool to harmonize the flow of energy in the body. Many scientific studies have now proven the positive benefits of yoga for body and mind:
Positive physical effects of yoga
- More power and flexibility
- Vitalization of the digestive system
- Promotes blood circulation
- Activation of blood and lymph vessels
- Stimulation of detoxification processes
- Strengthening of the back muscles
- A good posture
- Increasing the ability to concentrate
Positive mental effects of yoga
- Calming the mind
- Deep and calm sleep
- Increased concentration
- Positive mental attitude
- Inner balance
- Serenity in everyday life
But Asanas are only a part of the Hatha practice. Patanjali describes in his Yoga Sutras – this is one of the most important basic text – how the mind determines our actions, how we often stand in our own way, and how anyone can reach a clarification of the mind and finally unity through the eight-limbs path. The basis is formed by moral codes of conduct (Yama and Niyama) in dealing with the world and oneself, followed by Asanas (physical exercises), Pranayama (breathing exercises), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and finally Samadhi, the complete fusion, unity with oneself and the world.
Anusara® Yoga founded in 1997 by the American John Friend, is one of the modern styles of Hatha Yoga and is adapted to the physique and habits of Western people. For example, many Indians sit in a lotus position without much effort, whereas a Western person may never learn this. The latest scientific findings from biodynamics and bioenergetics have been incorporated into the principles (Universal Principles of Alignment™) of Anusara®. This means that each Asana is very finely and in detail aligned, always with the aim that the energy in the body can flow best. So, the goal is not that an Asana looks like in the textbook, but that it feels good, uses its personal potential, is grounded and at the same time expresses lightness and joy. Anusara® supports the undogmatically and without indoctrination to recognize and lovingly shift his own limits in order to experience the transforming and healing powers.
The Tantric Philosophie
Anusara® is based on the life-affirming and heart-oriented philosophy and is rooted in the Tantra of Kashmir Shivaism. Accordingly, every human being is intrinsically good, free and peaceful by nature. This is beautifully expressed in the Anusara Invocation:
Om Namah Shivaya Gurave
I bow to the presence of the Divine within, our true and highest teacher.
That lives in and around us. Being, consiousness and bliss.
It is ever-present and radiates peace.
Lighting the way to transformation.