Video Interview about Anusara Yoga with Ishwari Jay, founder of Yogabhava
About Anusara Yoga
means “flowing with Grace,” “going with the flow,” and “following your heart”
Founded by John Friend in 1997, Anusara Yoga is a hatha yoga system that unifies Universal Principles of Alignment with a non-dual Tantric philosophy that is epitomized by a “celebration of the heart”. In this philosophy we take the premise that everything is supreme Consciousness—nothing exists that is not supreme Consciousness. It encompasses a vision of totality in which each person is seen as equally divine in every part—body, mind, and spirit. The body and mind are honored as sacred vessels through which the divine radiance of supreme.
Consciousness can shine. Each of us is regarded as essentially good, so there is a lot of acceptance and allowance in this system for difference and deviation.
Anusara is flowing with Grace by saying yes to the whole magical spectrum of life. It is a willingness to be aware of all parts of ourselves—the light and the dark, the full rainbow of sensation, perception, emotion, and thought. To be in the flow is to look at whatever arises with freshness and freedom. It is simply to open our hearts with love to the present moment without clinging or pushing. Anusara is accepting the world and ourselves as we are, and then responding with love.
The highest intention of practicing Anusara Yoga is to align with the flow of Grace, to awaken to the truth that our essential nature is part of this divine flow, and to lovingly and joyfully serve this flow. We delightfully dance with the flow of supreme Consciousness through each breath and every posture in our yoga practice. In each pose, we artistically offer our individual light and our unique music to the flow of life. The art of yoga is viewed as a co-participation with the Supreme—not a practice of domination, subjugation, or control of nature. The yoga reflects a healthy, balanced relationship with the Supreme.
Anusara Yoga is an all-inclusive yoga in which each student’s various unique abilities and limitations are deeply honored. It is through the limitations of the body/mind that we discover that our true nature is boundless goodness and vast luminous Consciousness. The body/mind is a gift from God to help us discover our glory, our greatness, and our worthiness to experience the highest sense of freedom.
John Friend on the cover of Yoga Journal
The poses in Anusara Yoga are considered to be “heart-oriented”, and are expressed from “inside out”. Instead of only trying to control the body and mind from the outside, the poses originate from a deep artistic feeling inside. There is an emphasis on remembering the spiritual purpose of hatha yoga, which includes reconnecting with our innate goodness, power, and beauty, and expressing ourselves from that divine place.
Anusara Yoga teachers practice looking for the good in things, especially in themselves and their students. Anusara Yoga teachers do not try to “fix” or “correct” students, instead they help enhance and reveal the beauty and divine qualities that are already present in the students’ poses. One of the other key aspects of this Tantric philosophy is that we are all co-creators with Nature or the Supreme in this life, and this creative freedom makes life fun, exciting and inspiring. Life is seen not as a hard labor assignment without chance of parole, but as a fun game that can be celebrated each day.
Anusara Yoga teachers are dedicated to serve each student and help them unveil their innate goodness, worthiness, and Supreme nature. They are committed to empowering and building each student’s self-esteem, while inspiring light-heartedness, play and joyful creativity within the yoga practice.
Anusara Yoga teachers are dedicated to:
Building harmony within the yoga community.
Studying and practicing yoga regularly to be able to offer Anusara Yoga with the highest level of skill, professional integrity, love and fun.
Honor and glorify the True Teacher within.
Live, love and laugh in all our fullness every day.
As a nationally Registered Yoga School, Anusara Yoga offers a teaching certification program that meets the national standards for yoga teachers as set by the Yoga Alliance. With over 600 teachers and tens of thousands of students worldwide, Anusara Yoga is one of the fastest growing schools of hatha yoga in the world.
Not only is Anusara is an elegant system of alignment principles and non-dual philosophy, but it is a wonderful community of highly trained teachers and fun-loving students. The community is tightly knit mainly because everyone subscribes to the spiritual ideals that form the basis of Anusara, and so there are not a lot of self-centered egos involved. Everyone is very attuned to the truth that Grace plays the key role in the successful flow of their practice, classes, and the organization itself. Teachers network together to help each other learn and grow. When someone is sick, having trouble or hurting in any way, people pitch in to offer care and support. This community feels like it has the tightness of a family, yet the looseness of a merry band of bohemian artists.
As an organization, Anusara Yoga is well networked and organized, yet there is a strong emphasis on creative freedom and individuality. There are no strict rules from a centralized governmental body. The system is held together by everyone’s implicit agreement to the principles; particularly spiritual precepts, such as celebrating Beauty in all Its diversity, Truthfulness, and honoring the Divine in all Beings. Without a rigid dogma, the system is open to continual change and restructuring. Self-examination, scrutiny, discovery, and openness to new ideas are foundational to this dynamic system. Individual creativity and investigation are always supported and encouraged within the bounds of the basic principles and philosophic precepts of Anusara Yoga. Anusara grows with harmony and integrity through the combined vision of our affiliated Anusara Yoga teachers to serve each student and help them unveil their innate goodness, worthiness, and supreme nature.