Anusara Yoga is a contemporary system of Hatha Yoga, based on the Non-Dual Tantric philosophy that all living beings are manifestations of the “Supreme Consciousness.” The asana practiced in Anusara Yoga are based on the Universal Principles of Alignment, a set of biomechanical, postural principles unique to this discipline. Classes are also distinguished by their incorporation of an attitudinal heart theme; the poses are described as ‘heart-oriented,’ meaning they originate from an inner devotion that is brought inside out (ASHY)
Anusara Yoga classes begin with an incantation and end with silent meditation. There are no specific postural sequences, but there are general guiding principles that are designed to allow all students to move forward in their class. Classes incorporate over 250 poses common to Hatha Yoga, but practitioners are encouraged to practice their own variations as well (ASHY). Similar to Iyengar Yoga, Anusara Yoga instructors allow for the use of props if necessary. John Friend was a part-time yoga teacher until 1986, at which point he quit his primary job and began teaching various styles of Hatha Yoga full-time. In the company of Judith Lasater, Ph.D., the yoga instructor responsible for popularizing Restorative Yoga, Friend began studying the techniques of B.K.S. Iyengar.
He served on the Board of Directors for the Iyengar Yoga National Association until 1997, when he established Anusara Yoga. Although Friend eventually moved on to another discipline, a group of Anusara Yoga teachers founded ASHY, the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga, in 2012, continuing his legacy.
The Anusara technique caters to individuals of all ages, levels of fitness and experience. The Universal Alignment Principles are tailored in such a way that Anusara Yoga classes may be therapeutic for students, providing relief for individuals with physical limitations. The possible use of props also poses benefits for such individuals, as it allows them to achieve the correct alignment in otherwise difficult poses.
In practicing Anusara Yoga, improvements may be exhibited in the following: flexibility, posture, lung capacity, immunity and circulation. Similar to Restorative Yoga, the psychological benefits include decreased stress and increased relaxation, as well as general improvements in one’s mental stability and well-being.
There are two levels of training available to aspiring Anusara Yoga teachers: Requirements include 200 hours of education and teacher training, as well as a minimum of two years of teaching experience.
Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher
Requirements include 240 classrooms hours, 832 home-practice hours, at least four years of teaching experience, two years of study under a certified Anusara Yoga instructor, and 500 credit hours in Anusara Yoga education and teacher training.
For more information on this process, visit the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga’s official website at anusarayoga.com